Selection for forage and avoidance of risk by woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) at coarse and local scales

Madeleine T. McGreer, Erin E. Mallon, Lucas M.Vander Vennen, Philip A. Wiebe, James A. Baker, Glen S. Brown, Tal Avgar, Jevon Hagens, Andrew W. Kittle, Anna Mosser, Garrett M. Street, Doug E.B. Reid, Arthur R. Rodgers, Jennifer Shuter, Ian D. Thompson, Merritt J. Turetsky, Steven G. Newmaster, Brent R. Patterson, John M. Fryxell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

The relationship between selection at coarse and fine spatiotemporal spatial scales is still poorly understood. Some authors claim that, to accommodate different needs at different scales, individuals should have contrasting selection patterns at different scales of selection, while others claim that coarse scale selection patterns should reflect fine scale selection decisions. Here we examine site selection by 110 woodland caribou equipped with GPS radio-collars with respect to forage availability and predation risk across a broad gradient in availability of both variables in boreal forests of Northern Ontario. We tested whether caribou selection for forage and avoidance of risk was consistent between coarse (seasonal home range) and fine scales of selection. We found that local selection patterns predicted coarse scale selection patterns, indicating a close relationship between the drivers of selection at both spatial scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number288
JournalEcosphere
Volume6
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Morgan Anderson, Scott Moffat, and staff at the Center for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research (CNFER) for their invaluable contributions to field work and development of this manuscript. This work was supported by the Canadian Forest Service, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, CNFER, Forest Ecosystem Science Co-operative Inc., and CRD and Strategic Grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 DuFour et al.

Keywords

  • Canis lupus
  • Forage
  • Habitat selection
  • Predation
  • Rangifer tarandus caribou
  • Risk
  • Scale
  • Step selection function

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