Scales of movement by elk ( Cervus elaphus) in response to heterogeneity in forage resources and predation risk Research article DOI:
10.1007/s10980-005-2075-8 Cite this article as: Frair, J., Merrill, E.H., Visscher, D. et al. Landscape Ecol (2005) 20: 273. doi:10.1007/s10980-005-2075-8 Abstract
Animals may respond to spatial and temporal heterogeneity by altering their movement patterns. The time an animal spends in an area of a given size is termed ȁ8first-passage timeȁ9 and can be used to identify the scales at which different movement processes occur. Using first-passage time and 2-h observations, we identified nested spatial scales representing three movement behaviours for elk (
Cervus elaphus) – inactive/resting (moves < 50 m), active/foraging (x̄ = 276.7 m, SD = 56.6), and active/relocating (x̄ = 1628.3 m, SD = 436.6). Our ability to identify inactive behaviour was limited by GPS accuracy. The scale separating relocating and foraging behaviour ranged 550–1650 m across individuals and varied quadratically with the mean patch size of cutover forest in an animal’s home range. We classified path segments into the 3 movement behaviours and related behaviours to local environmental conditions. Elk were likely to be inactive in areas having a low predicted use by wolves ( Canis lupus), farther than 50 m from anthropogenic linear clearings, and where microclimatic conditions were cool (high shrub cover and north to east-facing slopes). In contrast, elk were most likely to forage in areas having intermediate levels of herbaceous biomass and low movement costs. Elk were most likely to be relocating when in areas of high wolf use, when close to linear clearings, and in energetically costly situations such as moving upslope. We discuss how elk use of potential foraging habitats may be restricted in this landscape by risks imposed by predators, humans, or both. Keywords First-passage time Landscape structure Seismic lines Timber harvest Trade-offs References Albon, S.D., Langvatn, R. 1992 Plant phenology and the benefits of migration in a temperature ungulate Oikos 65 502 513 Google Scholar Ager, A.A., Johnson, B.K., Kern, J.W., Kie, J.G. 2003 Daily and seasonal movements and habitat use by female Rocky Mountain elk and mule deer Journal of Mammalogy 84 1076 1088 CrossRef Google Scholar Bascompte, J., Vilà, C. 1997 Fractals and search paths in mammals Landscape Ecology 12 213 221 CrossRef Google Scholar Batschelet, E. 1981Circular statistics in biology Academic Press London, UK Google Scholar Begg, C.B., Gray, R. 1984 Calculation of polychotomous logistic regression parameters using individualized regressions Biometrika 71 11 18 Google Scholar Bergman, C.M., Schafer, J.A., Luttich, S.N. 2000 Caribou movement as a correlated random walk Oecologia 123 364 374 CrossRef Google Scholar Beyer, H. 2004 Vegetation classification, mapping, and assessment from Landsat of TM5 scene Beyer, H. Frair, J. Visscher, D. Fortin, D. Merrill, E. Boyce, M. Allen, J. eds. Vegetation map and dynamics of elk forage for the central east slopes elk and wolf study Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta Edmonton, AlbertaCanada 2 14 Google Scholar Bobek, B., Bergstrom, R. 1978 A rapid method of browse biomass estimation in a forest habitat Journal of Range Management 31 456 458 Google Scholar Boyce, M.S., Mao, J.S., Merrill, E.H., Fortin, D., Turner, M.G., Fryxell, J., Turchin, P. 2003 Scale and heterogeneity in habitat selection by elk in Yellowstone National Park EcoScience 10 421 431 Google Scholar Brown, J.K. 1976 Estimating shrub biomass from basal stem diameters Canadian Journal of Forest Research 6 154 158 Google Scholar Burnham, K.P., Anderson, D.R. 2002Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretic approach Springer-Verlag New York, NY, USA Google Scholar Callaghan, C. 2002The ecology of gray wolf ( Canis lupus) habitat usesurvival, and persistence in the central Rocky Mountains, Canada Dissertation, Department of Zoology, University of Guelph GuelphOntarioCanada Google Scholar Collins, W.B., Urness, P.J., Austin, D.D. 1978 Elk diets and activities on different lodgepole pine habitat segments Journal of Wildlife Management 42 799 810 Google Scholar Cook, J.G. 2002 Nutrition and food Toweill, D.E. Thomas, J.W. eds. North American elk: ecology and management Smithsonian Institution Press Washington, District of ColumbiaUSA 259 349 Google Scholar dȁ9Auriac, A., Benoit, J.C., Rammal, R. 1983 Random walk on fractals: numerical studies in two dimensions Journal of Physics A – Math General 16 4039 4051 CrossRef Google Scholar Fauchald, P., Tveraa, T. 2003 Using first-passage time in the analysis of area-restricted search and habitat selection Ecology 84 282 288 Google Scholar Firle, S., Bommarco, R., Ekbom, B., Natielo, M. 1998 The influence of movement and resting behaviour on the range of three carabid beetles Ecology 79 2113 2122 Google Scholar Fortin, D., Fryxell, J.M., Oȁ9Brodovich, L., Frandsen, D. 2003 Foraging ecology of bison at the landscape and plant community levels: the applicability of energy maximization principles Oecologia 134 219 227 PubMed Google Scholar
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