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Niche partitioning and spatial variation in abundance of Rock (Lagopus muta) and White-tailed Ptarmigan (L. leucura): a case of habitat selection at multiple scales

  • Author / Creator
    Wong, Mark
  • Climate change can affect habitat availability and species interactions at several spatial and temporal scales. I explored niche partitioning and spatial variation of Rock (Lagopus muta) and White-tailed Ptarmigan (L. leucura) in southwest Yukon. I examined habitat selection of foraging areas within a population and patches within foraging areas in a sympatric population of Rock and White-tailed Ptarmigan. At the larger foraging area scale, Rock Ptarmigan used areas with greater shrub cover compared to White-tailed Ptarmigan. At the smaller patch scale, both species selected patches with greater rock cover, but differed in other patch features. Second, I examined spatial variation in abundance of both ptarmigan species between the Ruby and Kluane Ranges using pellet count and transect surveys. Relative abundance was lower in the Kluane Range based on pellet counts, but transect surveys proved inadequate as a measure of population density. The Kluane Range also had fewer positive degree days above 0 ºC and a greater mean standard deviation of NDVI, and was composed of finer textured colluvium compared to the Ruby Range, which could influence relative abundance of ptarmigan.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2010-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3TD0F
  • 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
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Biological Sciences
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Hik, David (Biological Sciences)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • St. Clair, Colleen Cassady (Biological Sciences)
    • Kavanaugh, Jeff (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Boyce, Mark (Biological Sciences)