Process-based models are becoming increasingly used tools for understanding how species are likely to respond to environmental changes and to potential management options. RangeShifter is one such modelling platform, which has been used to address a range of questions including identifying effective reintroduction strategies, understanding patterns of range expansion and assessing population viability of species across complex landscapes. Here we introduce a new version, RangeShifter 2.0, which incorporates important new functionality. It is now possible to simulate dynamics over user-specified, temporally changing landscapes. Additionally, we integrated a new genetic module, notably introducing an explicit genetic modelling architecture, which allows for simulation of neutral and adaptive genetic processes. Furthermore, emigration, transfer and settlement traits can now all evolve, allowing for sophisticated simulation of the evolution of dispersal. We illustrate the potential application of RangeShifter 2.0's new functionality by two examples. The first illustrates the range expansion of a virtual species across a dynamically changing UK landscape. The second demonstrates how the software can be used to explore the concept of evolving connectivity in response to land-use modification, by examining how movement rules come under selection over landscapes of different structure and composition. RangeShifter 2.0 is built using object-oriented C++ providing computationally efficient simulation of complex individual-based, eco-evolutionary models. The code has been redeveloped to enable use across operating systems, including on high performance computing clusters, and the Windows graphical user interface has been enhanced. RangeShifter 2.0 will facilitate the development of in-silico assessments of how species will respond to environmental changes and to potential management options for conserving or controlling them. By making the code available open source, we hope to inspire further collaborations and extensions by the ecological community.
We thank R. L. Allgayer, A. Ponchon and N. W. Synes for their help and contribution to the RangeShifter development and application. We also thank the many users of RangeShifter and participants to workshops for their invaluable feedback.
Development of RangeShifter 2.0 was supported by the project PROBIS funded by the BiodivERsA European Joint Call 2012–2013. GB was supported by a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (UF160614). AKM and DZ were supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under grant agreement no. ZU 361/1-1.
- animal movement
- distribution modelling
- dynamic landscapes
- individual-based modelling
- population viability
- process based modelling