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Scientific Reports




Nature Publishing Group

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Species distributions are determined by the interaction of multiple biotic and abiotic factors, which produces complex spatial and temporal patterns of occurrence. As habitats and climate change due to anthropogenic activities, there is a need to develop species distribution models that can quantify these complex range dynamics. In this paper, we develop a dynamic occupancy model that uses a spatial generalized additive model to estimate non-linear spatial variation in occupancy not accounted for by environmental covariates. The model is flexible and can accommodate data from a range of sampling designs that provide information about both occupancy and detection probability. Output from the model can be used to create distribution maps and to estimate indices of temporal range dynamics. We demonstrate the utility of this approach by modeling long-term range dynamics of 10 eastern North American birds using data from the North American Breeding Bird Survey. We anticipate this framework will be particularly useful for modeling species’ distributions over large spatial scales and for quantifying range dynamics over long temporal scales.