Biodiversity Science ›› 2007, Vol. 15 ›› Issue (4): 365-372.doi: 10.1360/biodiv.060280

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Application of ROC curve analysis in evaluating the performance of alien species’ potential distribution models

Yunsheng Wang1, 2, Bingyan Xie1*, Fanghao Wan3, Qiming Xiao2, , Liangying Dai2   

  1. 1 Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081
    2 College of Bio-safety Science and Technology, Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha 410128
    3 Institute of Plant Protection (South Section), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081
  • Received:2006-11-20 Revised:2007-07-03 Online:2007-07-20

Ecological niche models (ENMs), which are widely employed to predict the potential geographic distribution of species, provide an important tool to quantify the risks imposed by invasive alien species. The problem of how to evaluate the performance of different models has attracted more and more attention. In the present paper, we introduced the principle of the method of Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analysis in assessing the accuracy of different ENMs. We predicted the suitable distribution area of Radopholus similis, an important banana toppling disease nematode, with five widely used ENMs and evaluated the performance of different models by ROC curve analysis. The area under ROC curve (AUC) for BIOCLIM, CLIMEX, DOMAIN, GARP, and MAXENT models was 0.810, 0.758, 0.921, 0.903, and 0.950, respectively. Among these, the biggest value of AUC was assigned to MAXENT, indicating that the result gained by MAXENT should be better than the other four models. According to the results of analysis of variance (ANOVA), there was a remarkable difference in AUC between each model except for DOMAIN and GARP.

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