, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 203–213

Characterizing habitat preference of Eurasian river otter (Lutra lutra) in streams using a self-organizing map

  • Hee-Sun Cho
  • Kwang-Hee Choi
  • Sang-Don Lee
  • Young-Seuk Park
Research paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10201-009-0275-7

Cite this article as:
Cho, HS., Choi, KH., Lee, SD. et al. Limnology (2009) 10: 203. doi:10.1007/s10201-009-0275-7


We studied the habitat preferences of Eurasian river otters (Lutra lutra) using the distribution patterns of the numbers of spraints and sprainting spots of otters, as well as related environmental variables (habitat zone, river management, bank type, vegetation coverage, width, depth, etc.) in two streams. The numbers of otter spraints and sprainting spots were sampled monthly in two streams on Geoje Island, Republic of Korea, from January to December 2004. Additional environmental variables were measured at the sampling sites. A self-organizing map (SOM), which is an unsupervised artificial neural network, was used to characterize the habitat preferences of otters. In our results, the SOM classified three different groups of study sites based on their habitat conditions, and the habitat differences were effectively visualized on the trained SOM map. Otters showed spatial and temporal dynamics in the numbers of spraints and sprainting spots, and revealed habitat preferences for shallow, narrow areas of streams and edges of water that were not far from reservoirs but covered with trees and shrubs. Additionally, otters preferred an environment in which weirs reduced the drift of water and gathered fishes and had a natural type of stream bank; these findings are relevant for river management. Otters adapted to places close to roads, residential areas, and agricultural areas with some tolerance of human interference.


Habitat use Spraints Stream management Conservation strategies Artificial neural networks 

Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Limnology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hee-Sun Cho
    • 1
  • Kwang-Hee Choi
    • 2
  • Sang-Don Lee
    • 3
  • Young-Seuk Park
    • 4
  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental StudiesSeoul National UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Nature Conservation Research DivisionNational Institute of Environmental ResearchIncheonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringEwha Womans UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of Biology and Institute of Global EnvironmentKyung Hee UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea

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