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distribution maps, spatially-explicit ecosystem model, Atlantis, Gulf of Mexico, species distribution models, generalized additive models, geostatistical generalized linear mixed models, large monitoring database

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To be able to simulate spatial patterns of predator-prey interactions, many spatially-explicit ecosystem modeling platforms, including Atlantis, need to be provided with distribution maps defining the annual or seasonal spatial distributions of functional groups and life stages. We developed a methodology combining extrapolation and interpolation of the predictions made by statistical habitat models to produce distribution maps for the fish and invertebrates represented in the Atlantis model of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) (“Atlantis-GOM”). This methodology consists of: (1) compiling a large monitoring database, gathering all the fisheries-independent and fisheries-dependent data collected in the northern (U.S.) GOM since 2000; (2) compiling a large environmental database, storing all the environmental parameters known to influence the spatial distribution patterns of fish and invertebrates of the GOM; (3) fitting binomial generalized additive models (GAMs) to the large monitoring and environmental databases, and geostatistical binomial generalized linear mixed models (GLMMs) to the large monitoring database; and (4) employing GAM predictions to infer spatial distributions in the southern GOM, and GLMM predictions to infer spatial distributions in the U.S. GOM. Thus, our methodology allows for reasonable extrapolation in the southern GOM based on a large amount of monitoring and environmental data, and for interpolation in the U.S. GOM accurately reflecting the probability of encountering fish and invertebrates in that region. We used an iterative cross-validation procedure to validate GAMs. When a GAM did not pass the validation test, we employed a GAM for a related functional group/life stage to generate distribution maps for the southern GOM. In addition, no geostatistical GLMMs were fit for the functional groups and life stages whose depth, longitudinal and latitudinal ranges within the U.S. GOM are not entirely covered by the data from the large monitoring database; for those, only GAM predictions were employed to obtain distribution maps for Atlantis-GOM. Pearson residuals were computed to validate geostatistical binomial GLMMs. Ultimately, 53 annual maps and 64 seasonal maps (for 32 different functional groups/life stages) were produced for Atlantis-GOM. Our methodology could serve other world's regions characterized by a large surface area, particularly LMEs bordered by several countries.

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Frontiers in Marine Science, v. 5, art. 16

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