Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Outstanding challenges in the transferability of ecological models

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Katherine L. Yates, Phil J. Bouchet, M. Julian Caley, Kerrie Mengersen, Christophe F. Randin, Stephen Parnell, Alan H. Fielding, Andrew J. Bamford, Stephen Ban, A. Márcia Barbosa, Carsten F. Dormann, Jane Elith, Clare B. Embling, Gary N. Ervin, Rebecca Fisher, Susan Gould, Roland F. Graf, Edward J. Gregr, Patrick N. Halpin, Risto K. Heikkinen & 30 more Stefan Heinänen, Alice R. Jones, Periyadan K. Krishnakumar, Valentina Lauria, Hector Lozano-Montes, Laura Mannocci, Camille Mellin, Mohsen B. Mesgaran, Elena Moreno-Amat, Sophie Mormede, Emilie Novaczek, Steffen Oppel, Guillermo Ortuño Crespo, A. Townsend Peterson, Giovanni Rapacciuolo, Jason J. Roberts, Rebecca E. Ross, Kylie L. Scales, David Schoeman, Paul Snelgrove, Göran Sundblad, Wilfried Thuiller, Leigh G. Torres, Heroen Verbruggen, Lifei Wang, Seth Wenger, Mark J. Whittingham, Yuri Zharikov, Damaris Zurell, Ana M. M. Sequeira

School/Research organisations


Predictive models are central to many scientific disciplines and vital for informing management in a rapidly changing world. However, limited understanding of the accuracy and precision of models transferred to novel conditions (their 'transferability') undermines confidence in their predictions. Here, 50 experts identified priority knowledge gaps which, if filled, will most improve model transfers. These are summarized into six technical and six fundamental challenges, which underlie the combined need to intensify research on the determinants of ecological predictability, including species traits and data quality, and develop best practices for transferring models. Of high importance is the identification of a widely applicable set of transferability metrics, with appropriate tools to quantify the sources and impacts of prediction uncertainty under novel conditions.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)790-802
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number10
Early online date27 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

    Research areas

  • Species distribution model, Climate-change, Decision-making, Temporal transferability, Biotic interactions, Predictive models, Habitat selection, Distributions, NIche, Abundance

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Seascape ecology: identifying research priorities for an emerging ocean sustainability science

    Pittman, SJ., Yates, KL., Bouchet, PJ., Alvarez-Berastegui, D., Andréfouët, S., Bell, SS., Berkström, C., Boström, C., Brown, CJ., Connolly, RM., Devillers, R., Eggleston, D., Gilby, BL., Gullström, M., Halpern, BS., Hidalgo, M., Holstein, D., Hovel, K., Huettmann, F., Jackson, EL. & 18 others, James, WR., Kellner, JB., Kot, CY., Lecours, V., Lepczyk, C., Nagelkerken, I., Nelson, J., Olds, AD., Santos, RO., Scales, KL., Schneider, DC., Schilling, HT., Simenstad, C., Suthers, IM., Treml, EA., Wedding, LM., Yates, P. & Young, M., 31 Mar 2021, In: Marine Ecology Progress Series. 663, p. 1-29 29 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. True blue: Temporal and spatial stability of pelagic wildlife at a submarine canyon

    Forrest, J. A. H., Bouchet, P. J., Barley, S. C., McLennan, A. G. & Meeuwig, J. J., 1 Mar 2021, In: Ecosphere. 12, 3, p. e03423

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Regional assessment of the conservation status of snubfin dolphins (Orcaella heinsohni) in the Kimberley Region, Western Australia

    Bouchet, P. J., Thiele, D., Marley, S. A., Waples, K., Weisenberger, F., Rangers, B., Rangers, B. J., Rangers, D., Yawuru Rangers, N. B., Rangers, N. N., Rangers, U. & Raudino, H., 21 Jan 2021, In: Frontiers in Marine Science. 7, 20 p., 614852.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. dsmextra: extrapolation assessment tools for density surface models

    Bouchet, P., Miller, D. L., Roberts, J., Mannocci, L., Harris, C. M. & Thomas, L., Nov 2020, In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 11, 11, p. 1464-1469 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. A field and video-annotation guide for baited remote underwater stereo-video surveys of demersal fish assemblages

    Langlois, T., Goetze, J., Bond, T., Monk, J., Abesamis, R. A., Asher, J., Barrett, N., Bernard, A. T. F., Bouchet, P. J., Birt, M. J., Cappo, M., Currey-Randall, L. M., Driessen, D., Fairclough, D. V., Fullwood, L. A. F., Gibbons, B. A., Harasti, D., Heupel, M. R., Hicks, J., Holmes, T. H. & 21 others, Huveneers, C., Ierodiaconou, D., Jordan, A., Knott, N. A., Lindfield, S., Malcolm, H. A., McLean, D., Meekan, M., Miller, D., Mitchell, P. J., Newman, S. J., Radford, B., Rolim, F. A., Saunders, B. J., Stowar, M., Smith, A. N. H., Travers, M. J., Wakefield, C. B., Whitmarsh, S. K., Williams, J. & Harvey, E. S., Nov 2020, In: Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 11, 11, p. 1401-1409

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Understanding 'non-genetic' inheritance: insights from molecular-evolutionary crosstalk

    Adrian-Kalchhauser, I., Sultan, S. E., Shama, L. N. S., Spence-Jones, H. C., Tiso, S., Keller Valsecchi, C. I. & Weissing, F. J., Dec 2020, In: Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 35, 12, p. 1078-1089 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  2. Better model transfers require knowledge of mechanisms

    Bouchet, P. J., Townsend Peterson, A., Zurell, D., Dormann, C. F., Schoeman, D., Ross, R. E., Snelgrove, P., Sequeira, A. M. M., Whittingham, M. J., Wang, L., Rapacciuolo, G., Oppel, S., Mellin, C., Lauria, V., Krishnakumar, P. K., Jones, A. R., Heinänen, S., Heikkinen, R. K., Gregr, E. J., Fielding, A. H. & 7 others, Caley, M. J., Márcia Barbosa, A., Bamford, A. J., Lozano-Montes, H., Parnell, S., Wenger, S. & Yates, K. L., Jun 2019, In: Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 34, 6, p. 489-490 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

  3. An inconvenient truth: the unconsidered benefits of convenience polyandry

    Boulton, R. A., Zuk, M. & Shuker, D. M., Dec 2018, In: Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 33, 12, 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Evolutionary consequences of social isolation

    Bailey, N. W. & Moore, A., Aug 2018, In: Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 33, 8, p. 595-607 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

ID: 264697256