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Linear features impact predator-prey encounters: analysis with first passage time
- Author / Creator
- Hannah White McKenzie
Landscapes are heterogeneous and animals respond to this heterogeneity by altering
their movement patterns. This thesis was motivated by the need to understand the
impact of a particular type of heterogeneity, anthropogenic linear features, on wolf
(Canis lupus) movement in the central east slopes of the Rocky Mountains (Alberta,
Canada). First passage time refers to the length of time taken to first encounter an
object, such as a prey item. Novel first passage time analysis methods for animal
movement were developed and applied to wolves in the presence of linear features.
The underlying movement model was parameterized using paths obtained from GPS
collars. These animal movement paths were confounded by measurement error. I
developed a mechanistic, empirically-based method for buffering linear features that
minimized the underestimation of animal use of linear features introduced by GPS
measurement error. Mean first passage time analysis showed that wolves found prey
faster in landscapes with higher densities of linear features, resulting in an increased
functional response, which was most prominent at low prey densities. These findings
have implications for management of species at risk in highly developed landscapes.
- Graduation date
- Type of Item
- Master of Science
- This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.