Territorial landscapes: incorporating density-dependence into wolf habitat selection studies

Royal Society Open Science
Shawn T O'NeilJoseph K Bump

Abstract

Habitat selection is a process that spans space, time and individual life histories. Ecological analyses of animal distributions and preferences are most accurate when they account for inherent dynamics of the habitat selection process. Strong territoriality can constrain perception of habitat availability by individual animals or groups attempting to colonize or establish new territory. Because habitat selection is a function of habitat availability, broad-scale changes in habitat availability or occupancy can drive density-dependent habitat functional responses. We investigated density-dependent habitat selection over a 19-year period of grey wolf (Canis lupus) recovery in Michigan, USA, using a generalized linear mixed model framework to develop a resource selection probability function (RSPF) with habitat coefficients conditioned on random effects for wolf packs and random year intercepts. In addition, we allowed habitat coefficients to vary as interactions with increasing wolf density over space and time. Results indicated that pack presence was driven by factors representing topography, human development, winter prey availability, forest structure, roads, streams and snow. Importantly, responses to many of these predictor...Continue Reading

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Software Mentioned

R package ‘ INLA ’
ArcGIS
adehabitatHR
INLA
ks
R
ArcMap
ArcPy
INLA )

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