How to efficiently select an optimal set of complementary surrogate species

In December 2016 we published some exciting new research that combines network analysis with community dynamics to find monitoring or management surrogates in changing landscapes, such as those responding to fire or restoration of vegetation.

In Tulloch, A. I. T., Chadès, I., Dujardin, Y., Westgate, M. J., Lane, P. W. and Lindenmayer, D. (2016), Dynamic species co-occurrence networks require dynamic biodiversity surrogates. Ecography, 39: 1185–1196. doi:10.1111/ecog.02143, we provide an efficient optimisation formulation to select complementary sets of species that represent hundreds of co-occurring species.

Our study also demonstrates that species co-occurrence patterns in disturbed systems are dynamic, and because of this, the optimal set of surrogates changes over time. By applying our optimisation to 2 case study communities, one in Booderee National Park (NSW) recovering from a large wildfire, and one in patches of endangered Box-Gum Grassy Woodland (NSW) that are changing due to vegetation restoration efforts, we show how surrogate sets can be selected and tailored to suit a range of decision-making and monitoring budget contexts. We believe our paper provides an important new foundation for improved use of surrogates to support management of networks of co-occurring species.

My wonderful co-author Iadine Chades writes more about how we solved this complex problem in her blog post.


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