The role of habitat quality and climate in the dynamics of occupancy and survival of a population of collared pikas (Ochotona collaris) in the Ruby Range, Yukon Territory

  • Author / Creator
    Horn, Heidi L
  • I examined the role of habitat quality and climate in the dynamics of occupancy and survival of a population of collared pikas in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Annual surveys of marked individuals over an 11 year period (1999 to 2009) within a geographically isolated metapopulation were used to analyze relationships between pika occupancy dynamics and habitat quality and between recruitment and survival and measures of climate based on Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and downscaled regional climate (Climate WNA). Occupancy dynamics were correlated with the quality of habitat within pika territories in terms of solar radiation and vegetation quality using Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values derived from a remote sensing image as a proxy for above-ground biomass. Recruitment and survival of pikas were correlated with lagged PDO, with results varying by age, sex and aspect. These results demonstrate that occupancy of territories by collared pikas is non-random and based on habitat conditions and that climate has a strong influence on population dynamics at some life stages. This study also demonstrates applications of GIS and remote sensing data for studies at the scale of a small alpine mammal.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • 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.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Specialization
    • Ecology
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Hik, David (Biological Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Nielsen, Scott (Renewable Resources)
    • Derocher, Andrew (Biological Sciences)
    • Hik, David (Biological Sciences)