Core areas of habitat use : the influence of spatial scale of analysis on interpreting summer habitat selection by moose (Alces alces)
Vander Wal, Eric
Master of Science
SubjectMoose Habitat Ontario, Northwestern
Habitat selection Ontario, Northwestern
Moose Summering Ontario, Northwestern
MetadataShow full item record
I investigated summer habitat selection patterns within the home ranges of 60 GPS-collared adult female moose (Alces alces) in northwestern Ontario. I developed a model that identified the ‘summer’ period for moose and I suggest and test a new approach for objectively delineating areas of intense use, or ‘core’ areas. Once summer and core areas were established, I tested two competing hypotheses to identify differences in habitat selected between the core areas and home range peripheries; (1) core areas represent superior spatial configurations of habitats when compared to home range peripheries; and (2) core areas are selected to contain a subset of ‘preferred’ forage species with higher individual densities or a higher total density of all forage species than home range peripheries. The study was conducted in 2 landscapes characterized by different disturbance patterns created by different timber harvesting systems: modified “guidelines” cut (MGC); and progressive, contiguous clear cut (PCC). Moose move more and faster during the summer than the winter to exploit available forage. I defined moose ‘summer’ as the period during the calendar year when an animal maintains a rate of movement greater than the annual mean. Using a sub-sample (n=32) of animals collared in 2000,1 determined 1 May 2000 as the median date for the ‘winter-summer’ transition (range: 2 April-24 May) and the median transition from ‘summer-winter’ was 25 August 2000 (range: 1 Aug-23 October). Moose home ranges were designated using a 90% adaptive kernel. Within the home range, moose devote a disproportionate amount of time to a fraction of the total area.