Posidonia oceanicais an endemic Mediterranean seagrass that ranks among the most important and valuable species, with regard to both its ecological role and the services it provides. Despite this species is one of the main targets of conservation actions, the current regression trend of P. oceanicais alarming, underlying the urgent need for reliable methods capable of assessing meadows vulnerability. To address this need, we developed a Habitat Suitability Model (HSM) aimed at assessing the vulnerability ofP. oceanicameadows in the Italian marine coastal waters using the Random Forest (RF) Machine Learning technique. Building on the current knowledge on both spatial distribution and condition of meadows in the Italian seas, the RF was used as a classifier aimed at modeling the habitat suitability forP. oceanica, rather than for predictive purposes. The assessment of the potentially most vulnerableP. oceanicameadows at increasing risk of regression was performed through the analysis of the RF output. The HSM showed a good level of accuracy, i.e. Cohen’s K = 0.685. The proposed approach provided valuable information regarding the vulnerability ofP. oceanicameadows over the Italian marine coastal waters. In addition, an evaluation of the relative importance of the predictors was carried out using the permutation measure. The developed HSM can support conservation and monitoring programs regarding this species playing a crucial role in the marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea.

Catucci, E., & Scardi, M. (2020). A Machine Learning approach to the assessment of the vulnerability of Posidonia oceanica meadows. ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS, 108, 105744.

A Machine Learning approach to the assessment of the vulnerability of Posidonia oceanica meadows

Elena Catucci
;
Michele Scardi
2020

Abstract

Posidonia oceanicais an endemic Mediterranean seagrass that ranks among the most important and valuable species, with regard to both its ecological role and the services it provides. Despite this species is one of the main targets of conservation actions, the current regression trend of P. oceanicais alarming, underlying the urgent need for reliable methods capable of assessing meadows vulnerability. To address this need, we developed a Habitat Suitability Model (HSM) aimed at assessing the vulnerability ofP. oceanicameadows in the Italian marine coastal waters using the Random Forest (RF) Machine Learning technique. Building on the current knowledge on both spatial distribution and condition of meadows in the Italian seas, the RF was used as a classifier aimed at modeling the habitat suitability forP. oceanica, rather than for predictive purposes. The assessment of the potentially most vulnerableP. oceanicameadows at increasing risk of regression was performed through the analysis of the RF output. The HSM showed a good level of accuracy, i.e. Cohen’s K = 0.685. The proposed approach provided valuable information regarding the vulnerability ofP. oceanicameadows over the Italian marine coastal waters. In addition, an evaluation of the relative importance of the predictors was carried out using the permutation measure. The developed HSM can support conservation and monitoring programs regarding this species playing a crucial role in the marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea.
Pubblicato
Rilevanza internazionale
Articolo
Esperti anonimi
Settore BIO/07
English
Con Impact Factor ISI
Catucci, E., & Scardi, M. (2020). A Machine Learning approach to the assessment of the vulnerability of Posidonia oceanica meadows. ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS, 108, 105744.
Catucci, E; Scardi, M
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2108/303095
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