New York Regional Species Distribution Modeling Discussion Group
Members of the NY-SDM pose in front of desks in a classroom, smiling at the camera

CBC-AMNH staff formed the New York Regional Species Distribution Modeling Discussion Group (NY-SDM) in 2001. NY-SDM convenes leading researchers from across the New York Tri-State area, including research scientists from industry and conservation organizations as well as professors, graduate students, and postdoctoral scientists to discuss and present research and new methods related to species distribution and other spatially explicit modeling for evolutionary, biogeographic and conservation questions.  

The group has had an outsized impact on the broader field of conservation biogeography, and maintains a vibrant community of practice that serves to encourage and support early career researchers and inspire new collaborations. The group has directly inspired new SDM algorithms (e.g., Maxent; Philliips et al. 2006, 2017), and hugely influential papers (e.g., Elith et al. 2006, Araujo et al. 2019). Maxent has been cited more than 20,000 times and is regularly used to inform spatial planning for conservation efforts globally. NY-SDM also convened the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Task Group on Data Fitness For Use in Distribution Modeling in 2015 to imagine visionary recommendations, most of which were implemented by GBIF, to vastly improve data readiness for SDMs.   

The group is coordinated by Dr. Mary Blair at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and Dr. Anna Thonis of New York University, and meets at the AMNH about twice a semester, always with an option for virtual (zoom) participation.