(Analysis of species-habitat relationships, benthic community analyses)
The distribution of species is influenced by environmental (abiotic and biotic) factors. Modern statistical techniques make it possible to analyse species-habitat relationships and, given a sufficient data availability, to develop habitat models. Such models provide a quantitative description of the species-habitat relationship.
Focus of the IceAGE project is on the development of species distribution models for benthic invertebrates occurring in Icelandic waters. As a result, species distribution maps are presented (examples for the polychaete Prionospio cirrifera shown here). In subarctic environments (as e.g. Iceland) the importance of climate-related predictors in the models is of particular interest. Potential changes of species distribution against the background of future climate scenarios can be discussed.
Apart from focussing on single species the analysis of species assemblages (e.g. benthic communities) by means of multivariate statistical methods can be undertaken. One aspect is to analyse community structure against the background of various environmental conditions. In conclusion, a change in community structure can be described in detail and the background of change revealed.