Influence of distance habitat, and memory on animal relocation patterns

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Dalziel, Benjamin D.
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University of Guelph

Animal movement paths are the result of a confluence of pattern-generating forces. Numerous hypotheses relate animal relocation patterns to one factor, but interactions among variables have seldom been examined, nor have a cosmopolitan host of such models been allowed to compete on common ground. I tested a set of alternate hypotheses regarding displacement probability and three key variables---distance, resource density, and memory---by fitting 11 models to relocation data collected from five elk ('Cervus elaphus') recently reintroduced to south-central Ontario. Models featuring memory in combination with distance and/or resource density had higher likelihoods than traditional models of distance-based displacement or resource selection. Analysis of the sensitivity of the best-fitting models to changing input values suggested that memory affects the architecture of animal movement paths primarily over short distances, and thus may produce different resource-selection patterns at different spatio-temporal extents.

animal movement paths, pattern-generating forces, animal relocation patterns, displacement probability, distance, resource density, memory, elk, Cervus elaphus, south-central Ontario, model