The use of space by animals as a function of accessibility and preference

Matthiopoulos, J. (2003) The use of space by animals as a function of accessibility and preference. Ecological Modelling, 159(2-3), pp. 239-268. (doi: 10.1016/S0304-3800(02)00293-4)

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Abstract

Heterogeneous usage of space by individual animals or animal populations is partly due to their preference for particular resources that are, themselves, heterogeneously distributed. When all points in the environment are equally accessible, a direct relationship between usage and preference can be assumed. However, when accessibility is restricted, spatial variations in usage can no longer be attributed entirely to preference. In such cases, it is necessary to control for the effects of accessibility on observed usage before conclusions about preference can be drawn. In this paper, I develop a modelling framework that treats the use of space by animals as a joint function of preference and accessibility. I specify a null version of the framework that assumes no preference and propose that its output can be used to control for the effect of accessibility on the observed, spatial distribution of usage. I briefly discuss how the framework can subsequently be used to provide insights about the animals’ preference for different resources and types of movement, and to predict usage in areas where no usage data exist. I explore the properties of the methodology using data from a population of simulated animals and present the first results of its application to a sub-set of the British population of grey seals (Halichoerus grypus).

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Matthiopoulos, Professor Jason
Authors: Matthiopoulos, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Ecological Modelling
ISSN:0304-3800

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