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Regional distribution models with lack of proximate predictors: Africanized honeybees expanding north

February 1, 2014

Species distribution models have often been hampered by poor local species data, reliance on coarse-scale climate predictors and the assumption that species–environment relationships, even with non-proximate predictors, are consistent across geographical space. Yet locally accurate maps of invasive species, such as the Africanized honeybee (AHB) in North America, are needed to support conservation efforts. Current AHB range maps are relatively coarse and are inconsistent with observed data. Our aim was to improve distribution maps using more proximate predictors (phenology) and using regional models rather than one across the entire range of interest to explore potential differences in drivers.