Use of Machine Learning for Predicting and Analyzing Ecological and ‘Presence Only’ Data: An Overview of Applications and a Good Outlook

Book Chapter
Use of Machine Learning (ML) for Predicting and Analyzing Ecological and “Presence Only” Data: An Overview of Applications and a Good Outlook. In: Machine Learning for Ecology and Sustainable Natural Resource Management, 2nd edn. Springer International Publishing, Cham, p 27–61
Publication year: 2018

2.1 Introduction

Over a decade ago, Leo Breiman (2001a) wrote: “There are two cultures in the use

of statistical modeling to reach conclusions from data. One assumes that the data

are generated by a given stochastic data model. The other uses algorithmic models

and treats the data mechanism as unknown. The statistical community has been

committed to the almost exclusive use of data models. This commitment has led to

irrelevant theory, questionable conclusions, and has kept statisticians from working

on a large range of interesting current problems. Algorithmic modeling, both in

theory and practice, has developed rapidly in fields outside statistics.”


More at:’Presence_Only’_Data_An_Overview_of_Applications_and_a_Good_Outlook

Ensembles of Ensembles: Combining the Predictions from Multiple Machine Learning Methods

Book Chapter
Lieske DJ, Schmid MS, Mahoney M
Ensembles of Ensembles: Combining the Predictions from Multiple Machine Learning Methods. In: Machine Learning for Ecology and Sustainable Natural Resource Management. Springer International Publishing, Cham, p 109–121
Publication year: 2018
The rapid growth of machine learning (ML) has resulted in an almost overwhelmingly large number of modelling techniques, demanding better elucidation of their strengths and weaknesses in applied contexts. Tree-based methods such as Random Forests (RF) and Boosted Regression Trees (BRT) are powerful ML approaches that make no assumptions about the functional forms of the relationship with predictors, are flexible in handling missing data, and can easily capture complex, non-linear interactions. As with many ML methods, however, RF and BRT are potentially vulnerable to overfitting and a subsequent loss of generalizability.

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Assessments of Carbon Stock Hotspots in Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Book Chapter
Schmid MS, Baltensperger AP, Grigor J and Huettmann F (2015)
in: Huettmann F. (ed.) Central American Biodiversity: Conservation, Ecology, and a Sustainable Future. Springer, New York, pp 677-701. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-2208-6_30
Publication year: 2015


Climate change is negatively affecting tropical regions through increasing temperatures and decreased precipitation leading to changes in local hydrology and decreasing water supply among others. In order to make accurate future predictions of carbon stock and forest health it is necessary to better understand the current underlying baseline carbon stock and how it may vary across space. Here we adapted an existing carbon stock assessment method and applied it to two tropical regions in Nicaragua and Costa Rica managed by the Maderas Rainforest Conservancy. Carbon stock was calculated based on 1) above-ground tree biomass, 2) above-ground sapling biomass, 3) leaf litter, herb and grass biomass, 4) soil organic carbon, 5) below-ground biomass, 6) stumps and deadwood and 7) regenerating plants. Our results show a strata-pooled average of 234.09 ± 379 Mg C ha-1 (n=40) carbon at the Costa Rican site and 209.20 ± 216 Mg C ha-1 (n=40) at the Nicaraguan site. These values are much higher than those available on a biome-wide scale, highlighting the extent of carbon stock loss outside these study areas as a result of anthropogenic disturbances, in comparison to more pristine areas. Local investigations into carbon stocks in the tropics are necessary to better estimate the current state of carbon content in the tropics. By adapting existing sampling protocols to local conditions this can be achieved efficiently. Furthermore, local estimates of carbon stock enable non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to participate in the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) program led by the United Nations.

A Short Introduction to Tropical Land- and Seascapes and Their Wildlife Conservation Management

Book Chapter
Huettmann, F and Schmid, MS (2015)
in: Huettmann F. (ed.) Central American Biodiversity: Conservation, Ecology, and a Sustainable Future. Springer, New York, pp 1-23. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-2208-6_1
Publication year: 2015

There is more to the picture than meets the eye.

—a common saying


1.1 Introduction

The tropics eternally fascinate us. But tropical land- and seascapes mean many

things for many people (Forsyth and Miyata 1987; Kricher and Plotkin 1999). For

some, they can be a great home, a wonderful holiday, and a study site, while for

others they constitute a miserable life (with an average daily income of US$ 4) in a

life-threatening habitat (Collier 2007; Davis 2007). It is not an overstatement to say

that in the tropics, one can die easily. To the rest of the world, however, the tropics

still represent a land of opportunity (a “lebensraum”; Figs. 1.2 and 1.3)…..

Open access data and machine learning models of 53 charismatic species in the Antarctic Ocean

Book Chapter
Falk Huettmann and Moritz Schmid (2014)
Huettmann, F and Schmid, M.S. (2014) Publicly available open access data and machine learning model-predictions applied with open source Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for the entire Antarctic Ocean: A first meta-analysis and synthesis from 53 charismatic species. In: Benjamin Veress and Jozsi Szigethy (eds). Horizons in Earth Science Research. Volume 11, Nova Science Publishers, New York Pages, pp. 23-33.
Publication year: 2014

Climate Change in the Arctic

Book Chapter
Huettmann F . and M. Schmid (2014)
In: A. Hund (ed.) Antarctica and the Arctic Circle: A Geographic Encyclopedia of the Earth's Polar Regions. Vol I, pp. 189-193.
Publication year: 2014

Chapter 6.3 Zooplankton

Book Chapter
Marleen Roelofs, Moritz Schmid and Robbert Zuijderwijk (2014)
In: B. Slat (ed.) How the Oceans can clean themselves. A feasibility study. The Ocean Cleanup, Delft, pp. 320-327.
Publication year: 2014

Abstract of the feasibility study:

The research described in this feasibility report indicates that The Ocean Cleanup Array is a feasible and viable method to remove large amounts of plastic pollution from a major accumulation zone known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Computer simulations have shown that floating barriers are suitable to capture and concentrate floating plastic debris. Combined with ocean current models to determine how much plastic would encounter the structure, a cleanup efficiency of 42% of all plastic within the North Pacific gyre can be achieved in ten years using a 100 km Array. In collaboration with offshore experts, it has been determined that this Array can be made and installed using current materials and technologies. The estimated costs are €317 million in total, or €31.7 million per year when depreciated over ten years, which translates to €4.53 per kilogram of collected ocean debris.

9.1. Climate change and predictions of pelagic biodiversity components

Book Chapter
Falk Huettmann and Moritz Schmid (2014)
In: De Broyer C., Koubbi P., Griffiths H.J., Raymond B., Udekem d’Acoz C. d’, et al. (eds.). Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Cambridge, pp. 470-475.
Publication year: 2014

One of the powerful figures in the article. Here we see figure 4 a  which shows predicted change from 2010 to 2100 based on future CanESM 2 data. The values shown here are mean predicted relative occurrence indeces (ROI) pooled over all 38 species that were modeled out. Warm colours show high predicted change and cool colours show lower change. The general trends of our study indicate a decline in ROI predictions for 2100. We think this represents an indication for a declining habitat quality and decreasing distribution range for traditional Antarctica species. One can see that eastern Antarctic waters are predicted to be among the most affected regions of change.mean change figure

Marine Ecosystems and Climate Change

Book Chapter
M. Cohen-Rengifo, R.E. Crafton, C. Hassenrück, E. Jankowska, S. Koenigstein, T. Sandersfeld, M.S. Schmid, M. Schmidt, R. Simpson, R.M. Sheward (2013)
in: Dummermuth, A. and Grosfeld, K. (eds.): Climate change in the marine realm : an international summer school in the framework of the European Campus of Excellence, Berichte zur Polar- und Meeresforschung = Reports on polar and marine research, Bremerhaven, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, 662, 75 p. hdl:10013/epic.41554
Publication year: 2013