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Monday, April 9 • 3:30pm - 3:45pm
SYMPOSIA-04: Individual Based Modeling of Dispersal by an Endangered Carnivore Can Simultaneously Be Pragmatic and Paradigmatic

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AUTHORS: Casey C. Day, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Purdue University; Patrick A. Zollner*, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Purdue University; Jonathan H. Gilbert, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission; Nicholas P. McCann, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology University of Minnesota

ABSTRACT: It is generally accepted that evaluations of functional landscape connectivity should go beyond structural landscape configuration to account for factors such as animal behavior and dispersal costs. Individual-based models of animal movement that incorporate animal behavior and adaptive decision-making in real time can facilitate our understanding of such integration. We used the individual-based model (IBM) framework SEARCH to simulate the dispersal of translocated American martens (Martes americana). The hypothesis that a time-limited disperser should be willing to accept lower quality habitat over time was tested using a pattern-oriented modeling approach to compare how well several model formulations matched observed empirical patterns of dispersal. Our best model matched all dispersal patterns except for time spent dispersing. We found support for the hypothesis of declining habitat selectivity over time as well as for an initial 2-week exploratory phase prior to home range establishment. Next, we applied this calibrated and validated simulation to a new landscape where we evaluated how mortality, land use change, and asymmetrical landscape configuration affected the ability of martens to disperse approximately 60 km between reintroduced populations. Results indicated that mortality due to predation and starvation had the greatest impact on the ability of martens to successfully traverse the landscape and establish a home range. Land use change and landscape configuration also affected functional landscape connectivity, primarily when mortality probability was set to zero and only for the subset of individuals that traveled furthest. Interestingly, dispersal metrics displayed different relationships with these factors than did functional landscape connectivity. Ultimately, our IBM was both “pragmatic” in addressing management needs for a species of conservation concern and “paradigmatic” by explicitly testing theories of dispersal behavior. Linking these two conceptual levels furthers the utility of IBMs and provides direction for theoretical and empirical work on animal behavior.

Monday April 9, 2018 3:30pm - 3:45pm CDT
Adams Room