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Data mining resources for species distribution modeling and macroecology

Research projects in ecology, evolution, and conservation biology increasingly rely upon ecological modeling and GIS data and tools for manipulating and analyzing spatially linked data from across a variety of spatial scales. Of particular importance are species distribution modeling (SDM; also known as Ecological Niche Models, or ENMs, or Environmental Niche Models) and niche divergence tools, geospatial data layers representing Earth environments from a variety of perspectives and scales, and GIS and mapping software.

This post provides a list of links to resources (mainly databases and websites) from which researchers can mine data for conducting SDM and macroecology analyses. I intend to curate this list and update it as I learn about or use new data or data mining resources. This is the first draft of the list, and so it will necessarily contain some gaps; however, I have tried to link to the most popular databases and software programs. Websites in the References section provide additional lists, but most of the software they list has been incorporated herein. Species distribution modeling software and GIS methods will not be reviewed here (see manuscripts and online lists of these elsewhere).

Along with my collaborators, I am currently using these data sources and software programs to conduct species distribution modeling analyses of North American conifers and Neotropical freshwater fishes.

Jump to…

  • Species Occurrences & Range Map Data
  • Climate Data Layers
  • Other GIS Data Layers & Maps
  • GIS Software

Species Occurrence & Range Map Data

GBIF ICUN speciesLink

Climate Data Layers

WorldClim datasets

NOTE: I don’t have time now but I plan to add links to download pages for several global circulation models, as well as future climate models, here in the near future. ~J

Other GIS Data Layers & Maps


GIS Software


Note: Check back… more links coming soon! ~J


CMEC (2017) Software and GIS data. Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate. Natural History Museum of Denmark, available at: http://macroecology.ku.dk/resources/software/.

WWF (2017) Conservation Science Data and Tools. World Wildlife Fund, available at: https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/conservation-science-data-and-tools.

Other Resources

MVZ (Museum of Vertebrate Zoology) GIS Portal, University of California, Berkeley - https://mvzgis.wordpress.com/