Mapping the observed and modelled intracontinental distribution of non-marine ostracods from South America.
Ecological niche modelling (ENM) has been used to quantify the potential occurrence of species, by identifying the main environmental factors that determine the presence of species across geographical space. We provide a large-scale survey of the distribution of ostracod species in South America, by using the domains of 25 river basins. From 221 known ostracod species, we estimate the potential distribution of 61 species, using ENM. Ten clusters of potential distribution patterns were found. Clusters 8 and 9 grouped most of the species, which presented high similarity of niche between them. Heterocypris paningi Brehm, 1934 (group 1) obtained higher niche variability. The minimum temperatures of the coldest month and the mean elevation of the river basin were most important to predict the potential distribution of ostracods of most groups. South America has a complex pattern of elevation, which affects species distributions indirectly through changes in local factors. For instance, the Andes mountains might impose a barrier for ostracod distribution in the southern part of South America because of the low temperatures and precipitation. The ENM indicated that some regions and/or basins of South America might be susceptible to the entry of several ostracod species, presently absent, including non-native species.