wallace 2: a shiny app for modeling species niches and distributions redesigned to facilitate expansion via module contributions

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  • Jamie M. Kass
  • Gonzalo E. Pinilla-Buitrago
  • Andrea Paz
  • Bethany A. Johnson
  • Valentina Grisales-Betancur
  • Sarah I. Meenan
  • Dean Attali
  • Olivier Broennimann
  • Peter J. Galante
  • Brian S. Maitner
  • Owens, Hannah Lois
  • Sara Varela
  • Matthew E. Aiello-Lammens
  • Cory Merow
  • Mary E. Blair
  • Robert P. Anderson
Released 4 years ago, the Wallace EcoMod application (R package wallace) provided an open-source and interactive platform for modeling species niches and distributions that served as a reproducible toolbox and educational resource. wallace harnesses R package tools documented in the literature and makes them available via a graphical user interface that runs analyses and returns code to document and reproduce them. Since its release, feedback from users and partners helped identify key areas for advancement, leading to the development of wallace 2. Following the vision of growth by community expansion, the core development team engaged with collaborators and undertook a major restructuring of the application to enable: simplified addition of custom modules to expand methodological options, analyses for multiple species in the same session, improved metadata features, new database connections, and saving/loading sessions. wallace 2 features nine new modules and added functionalities that facilitate data acquisition from climate-simulation, botanical and paleontological databases; custom data inputs; model metadata tracking; and citations for R packages used (to promote documentation and give credit to developers). Three of these modules compose a new component for environmental space analyses (e.g., niche overlap). This expansion was paired with outreach to the biogeography and biodiversity communities, including international presentations and workshops that take advantage of the software's extensive guidance text. Additionally, the advances extend accessibility with a cloud-computing implementation and include a suite of comprehensive unit tests. The features in wallace 2 greatly improve its expandability, breadth of analyses, and reproducibility options, including the use of emerging metadata standards. The new architecture serves as an example for other modular software, especially those developed using the rapidly proliferating R package shiny, by showcasing straightforward module ingestion and unit testing. Importantly, wallace 2 sets the stage for future expansions, including those enabling biodiversity estimation and threat assessments for conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere06547
Issue number3
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

ID: 333111640