How reliable are predictions of future plankton distributions? A new paper offers surprising insight

Monday 04 Apr 16


Thomas Kiørboe
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 01


Mark Payne
Senior Researcher
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 22

We find the reliability of predictions of distributional shifts of plankton made by commonly used ‘species distribution models’ to be worse than is commonly appreciated.

In this study we thoroughly tested the predictive skill of species distribution models for copepods, diatoms and dinoflagellates. Species distribution models are the standard tool to project the relocation of species under future climate change. Our conclusions are based on model-predictions up to 50 years into the future and past that we then tested directly against observations from one of the longest-running marine observational datasets. Predictions of plankton distributions are important to understand and adapt to climate change impacts, but need to be evaluated critically.

The paper can be found here.


Brun, P., Kiørboe, T., Licandro, P. & Payne, M.R. (2016). The predictive skill of species distribution models for plankton in a changing climate. Glob. Chang. Biol., in press; available online. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13274
28 MAY 2020