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
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    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.