The increasing development of species distribution models (SDMs) using palaeodata has created new prospects to address questions of evolution, ecology and biogeography from wider perspectives. Palaeobotanical data provide information on the past distribution of taxa at a given time and place and its incorporation on modelling has contributed to advancing the SDM field. This has allowed, for example, to calibrate models under past climate conditions or to validate projected models calibrated on current species distributions. However, these data also bear certain shortcomings when used in SDMs that may hinder the resulting ecological outcomes and eventually lead to misleading conclusions. Palaeodata may not be equivalent to present data, but instead frequently exhibit limitations and biases regarding species representation, taxonomy and chronological control, and their inclusion in SDMs should be carefully assessed. The limitations of palaeobotanical data applied to SDM studies are infrequently discussed and often neglected in the modelling literature; thus, we argue for the more careful selection and control of these data. We encourage authors to use palaeobotanical data in their SDMs studies and for doing so, we propose some recommendations to improve the robustness, reliability and significance of palaeo-SDM analyses.
Quaternary Science Reviews – Elsevier
Published: Aug 15, 2017
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