This Special Feature arose from a session on a topic of the same name that took place during The Wildlife Society meeting in Kona, Hawaii, from 5 to 10 November, 2011. The purpose of that session and this Special Feature is to compare methods for predictive modelling of species geographical distributions and the modelling of habitat (resource) selection by animals. The predictive modelling of species geographical distributions and the modelling of habitat selection based on the environmental conditions at sites where animals are known to occur are essentially the same problem. Presence-only and used-available data
both consist of a sample of locations with known presence of a species or an individual. A separate sample of locations from a study area, with unknown presence (pseudo-absence), is also assumed to exist. The probability or relative probability of presence of a species or individual is modelled and estimated across a certain time implicitly defined by the sampling mechanism, for example, by the time period during which museum specimens or radiotelemetry data were collected. A number of modelling methods have appeared in the literature over the last couple of decades. Many of these methods were made feasible
by the availability of geographical information systems (GIS), global positioning system (GPS) radiotelemetry and public online data access initiatives (e.g. global biodiversity information facility). The papers in this Special Feature are intended to present the state of the methodological art in their subject area, with particular attention paid to contrasting the advantages and disadvantages of alternative methods of analysis for data.