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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 612965, 6 pages
Research Article

Modeling Rare Species Distribution at the Edge: The Case for the Vulnerable Endemic Pyrenean Desman in France

1Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand
2Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, UFR Sciences & Techniques Côte Basque, Campus Montaury, 64600 Anglet, France
3INRA UMR ECOBIOP, Quartier Ibarron, 64310 Saint-Pée sur Nivelle, France
4SUC au CERFACS, URA CERFACS/CNRS no.1875, 42 Avenue Gaspard Coriolis, 31057 Toulouse Cedex 01, France
5ABELA, 09320 Boussenac, France
6Conservatoire Régional des Espaces Naturels de Midi-Pyrénées, 75, voie du Toec, BP 57611, 31076 Toulouse Cedex 3, France

Received 11 October 2011; Accepted 13 November 2011

Academic Editors: R. Castiglia, Q. Guo, B. Krystufek, and B. Tóthmérész

Copyright © 2012 M. Williams-Tripp et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The endemic Pyrenean Desman (Galemys pyrenaicus) is an elusive, rare, and vulnerable species declining over its entire and narrow range (Spain, Portugal, France, and Andorra). The principal set of conservation measures in France is a 5-years National Action Plan based on 25 conservation actions. Priority is given to update its present distribution and develop tools for predictive distribution models. We aim at building the first species distribution model and map for the northern edge of the range of the Desman and confronting the outputs of the model to target conservation efforts in the context of environmental change. Contrasting to former comparable studies, we derive a simpler model emphasizing the importance of factors linked to precipitation and not to the temperature. If temperature is one of the climate change key factors, depicted shrinkage in Desman distribution could be lower or null at the northern (French) edge suggesting thus a major role for this northern population in terms of conservation of the species. Finally, we question the applied issue of temporal and spatial transferability for such environmental favourability models when it is made at the edge of the distribution range.