Niche Analyst (NicheA)


Niche Analyst (NicheA) is an open-source, cross-platform application released under a GNU Public License (GPL). NicheA is written in Java, combining several toolkits, such as R, Weka, JAMA, GDAL and QuickHull3D. The platform is a window-based, user-friendly application that executes on most common operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and some Linux releases, such as Ubuntu.

NicheA allows users to display a group of species occurrence points, as well as import and develop niche models from the target species (i.e., G+) or from virtual species (i.e., G+s), based either on minimum volume ellipsoids or convex hulls containing the occurrence points; design barriers to dispersal and colonization in G; find the core area of fundamental niche and project it to the geographic space; discover suitable environments in invadable areas; and estimate, display, and analyze ecological niches models in environmental spaces of three or two dimensions, according to the analysis required. NicheA can also quantify niche similarity by calculating niche overlap between species’ G+. Additionally, NicheA can interact directly with popular ENM applications, such as Maxent (Phillips and Dudík 2008) and openModeller (Muñoz, et al. 2011) allowing to import, explore and analyze external ENMs’ outputs into the NicheA environmental space (details available in NicheA’s user guide).

Availability and Future Directions

NicheA is open-source software, freely available under the GNU Lesser General Public License. All source codes can be retrieved via a subversion repository (svn:// Because ecological niche modeling is a rapidly-developing field that is seeing impressive research use in addressing various questions in organismal biology, we will continue to update the NicheA platform. The authors are working toward expansion of the niche concepts in NicheA from a Grinnellian niche to a full Hutchinson niche, which includes both Grinnellian and Eltonian niches.

The Package

Version 2.0 beta


Previous version

Version 2.0 beta

Version 1.1 beta


Huijie Qiao 1,2, Jorge Soberón 1, Lindsay Campbell 1 & A. Townsend Peterson 1
1 Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas

1345 Jayhawk Blvd. Lawrence, KS, 66045-7593 USA

2 Key Laboratory of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

1 Beichen West Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, P.R.China


1. Installing Niche Analyst on Windows (ENGLISH)


2. Installing Niche Analyst on Mac OS X

3. Troubleshooting (Sample GeoTIFF File)

4. Your first scenario (Document) (ENGLISH)