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Sequential decision-making in a variable environment: modeling elk movement in Yellowstone National Park as a dynamic game.

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • We develop a suite of models with varying complexity to predict elk movement behavior during the winter on the Northern Range of Yellowstone National Park (YNP). The models range from a simple representation of optimal patch choice to a dynamic game, and we show how the underlying theory in each is related by the presence or absence of state- and frequency-dependence. We compare predictions from each of the models for three variables that are of basic and applied interest: elk survival, aggregation, and use of habitat outside YNP. Our results suggest that despite low overall forage depletion in the winter, frequency-dependence is crucial to the predictions for elk movement and distribution. Furthermore, frequency-dependence interacts with mass-dependence in the predicted outcome of elk decision-making. We use these results to show how models that treat single movement decisions in isolation from the seasonal sequence of decisions are insufficient to capture landscape scale behavior.

  • Date created
    2007
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R36H4CS27
  • License
    © 2007 Elsevier. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Noonburg, E. G., Newman, L. A., Lewis, M., Crabtree, R. L., & Potapov, A. B. (2007). Sequential decision-making in a variable environment: modeling elk movement in Yellowstone National Park as a dynamic game. Theoretical Population Biology, 71(2), 182-195.