Lifemapper (Lm) is a high-throughput species distribution modeling system and set of multi-species analysis tools. Started in 1999, Lifemapper was created to compute, archive and web publish, species distribution models (“SDMs”, also known as species niche models and predicted habitat models) using all available online species occurrence data. Using the Lifemapper platform, known species localities georeferenced from museum specimens are combined with climate models to predict a species’ “niche” or potential habitat availability, under current day and future climate change scenarios. The SDM components compute these single-species predictions.
The original Lifemapper *Catalog* at the University of Kansas, U.S.A., contains occurrence data, provided by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF, http://gbif.org), and predicted suitable habitat for species contained within. The data are organized by *accepted* species name, as defined by the GBIF Backbone Taxonomy.
Lifemapper Range and Diversity, “RAD", extends Lifemapper from creating single-species predictions to large-scale multi-species, landscape-level analyses. The RAD components calculate multi-species biodiversity analyses by creating a binary presence-absence matrix (PAM) for a large number of species from SDM outputs or other species range maps, then computing a number of biodiversity measures from it.
Lifemapper Meta-Community Phylogenetic Analyses, “MCPA", extends Lifemapper computations on a multi-species PAM created by the Lifemapper RAD components by connecting a phylogenetic tree for species in the PAM and computing correlations between geographic elements (biogeographic hypotheses) and the distribution and evolution of species. Outputs are returned in a package allowing users to dynamically query linked data visualizations: maps, trees, and scatterplots.
The Lifemapper platform is a large but modular web services-based system of three core software components:
- LmServer for data management and communications;
- LmCompute for calculations; and
- and an API and website for browsing the public archive and requesting analyses.