The model for a species is determined from a set of environmental or climate layers (or “coverages”) for a set of grid cells in a landscape, together with a set of sample locations where the species has been observed. The model expresses the suitability of each grid cell as a function of the environmental variables at that grid cell. A high value of the function at a particular grid cell indicates that the grid cell is predicted to have suitable conditions for that species. The computed model is a probability distribution over all the grid cells. The distribution chosen is the one that has maximum entropy subject to some constraints: it must have the same expectation for each feature (derived from the environmental layers) as the average over sample locations.
Steven J. Phillips, Miroslav Dudík, Robert E. Schapire. [Internet] Maxent software for modeling species niches and distributions (Version 3.4.0). Available from url: http://biodiversityinformatics.amnh.org/open_source/maxent/. Accessed on .