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Keywords:

  • artificial neural networks;
  • ecological niche modelling;
  • Python;
  • species distribution

Summary

1. Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are known for their powerful predictive power in the analysis of both linear and nonlinear relationships. They have been successfully applied to several fields including ecological modelling and predictive species’ distributions.

2. Here we present Simapse – Simulation Maps for Ecological Niche Modelling, a free and open-source application written in Python and available to the most common platforms. It uses ANNs with back-propagation to build spatially explicit distribution models from species data (presence/absence, presence-only and abundance).

3. The main features include the automatic production of replicates with different sub-sampling methods and total control of ANN structure and learning parameters.

4. Simapse uses common text formats as main input and output and provides assessment of variable importance and behaviour and measurement of model fitness.