Masters Thesis work published: studying sea kraits (Reptilia: Laticauda) species distributions using ecological niche modeling

June 26, 2020

Sea kraits are marine amphibious snakes distributed in the eastern Indian and Western Pacific Oceans. Their distributions pose particularly interesting features considering the fragmented landscape (or seascape) in which they live, which constricts their species distributions, as well as to biotic interactions (most of the species being eel specialists). Their life history makes them tied to the shores, and poses more problems in understanding the factors that shapes their distributions as, in many cases, areas that are suitable in the marine world, might not be suitable in the terrestrial.

Since 2012 I've been studying sea kraits for my Masters Thesis at Oklahoma State University. First, we compiled a database of all known sea krait occurrences that we published in 2016. With this paper (and releasing the occurrence data set publicly) we hope that other authors that are interested in sea snakes to can download and use the occurrence and, in this way to contribute to the knowledge of sea krait biogeography, biology and conservation. The paper can be read freely

at: https://zookeys.pensoft.net/article/6975/. This work also attracted quite a bit of attention and it was featured by a diverse range of news outlets.

 

 

Thesis work

 

For my Masters, I I have combined three aspects that previously been under investigated in the ecological niche modeling literature: 1) improving models for organisms with complex life histories, 2) understanding the role of biotic interactions in shaping species distributions and 3) understanding how dispersal models can improve the quality of species distributions estimates. Using the occurrence dataset published previously, we designed modeling experiments to investigate these questions.

 

Currently, all three papers associated with this Masters work are published in different journals. Please find bellow the references and links for this work.

 

 

 

Links to the published papers:

 

 

 

 

  • Gherghel I., Papeş M., Brischoux F., Sahlean T., Strugariu A. (2016): A revision of the distribution of sea kraits (Reptilia: Laticauda) with an updated dataset on occurrence for ecological and conservation research. ZooKeys 569: 135 - 148. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.569.6975. https://zookeys.pensoft.net/article/6975/

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Masters Thesis work published: studying sea kraits (Reptilia: Laticauda) species distributions using ecological niche modeling

June 26, 2020

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