, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 39-60

Intraspecific Variation in Home Range Overlap with Habitat Quality: A Comparison among Brown Bear Populations

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Abstract

We developed a conceptual model of spatial organization in vertebrates based upon changes in home range overlap with habitat quality. We tested the model using estimates of annual home ranges of adult females and densities for 30 populations of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in North America. We used seasonality as a surrogate of habitat quality, measured as the coefficient of variation among monthly actual evapotranspiration values for areas in which study populations were located. We calculated home range overlap for each population as the product of the average home range size for adult females and the estimated population density of adult females. Home range size varied positively with seasonality; however, home range overlap varied with seasonality in a nonlinear manner. Areas of low and high seasonality supported brown bears with considerable home range overlap, but areas of moderate seasonality supported brown bears with low home range overlap. These results are consistent with behavioural theory predicting a nonlinear relationship between food availability and territoriality.