This dataset represents a species distribution model for least tern (Sternula antillarum) on New Jersey’s Atlantic coast and was created as part of the Protection of Critical Beach Habitat project. In addition to least tern, this project includes species distribution models for piping plover (Charadrius melodus), least tern (Sternula antillarum), and American oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus). All species models can be found in the Data Basin gallery Protection of Critical Beach-nesting Bird Habitats in the Wake of Severe Coastal Storms.
Species distribution modeling was conducted to examine the influence of landscape scale variables and beach management strategies on bird breeding habitat suitability. The probability of nest occurrence was modeled using Maxent version 3.3.3k maximum entropy modeling platform at a 10-m resolution. Eight habitat variables were included in the model: distance to the high tide line, distance to non-ocean tidal waters, elevation, beach management zone type, total beach area within a 100-m radius, total marsh area within a 100-m radius, slope, and land use. The model was trained on nest (for piping plover and American oystercatcher) or colony (for least tern and black skimmer) locations spanning the years 2007 - 2011, and tested with nest or colony locations for the year 2012. Nest and colony locations were provided by the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program.Raster values represent the probability of nest occurrence for the target species, bounded by 0 and 1*, with values approaching 1 indicating greater probability of occurrence. Study area encompasses all land and water within 5 km of the New Jersey coastline from Gateway National Recreation Area - Sandy Hook Unit south to Cape May Point.
*NOTE - Values were converted to 0-100 for online display purposes. Download includes both versions.