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Resource-Area-Dependence Analysis: Inferring animal resource needs from homerange and mapping data

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Pete Robertson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2018 Kenward et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. An animal's home-range can be expected to encompass the resources it requires for surviving or reproducing. Thus, animals inhabiting a heterogeneous landscape, where resource patches vary in size, shape and distribution, will naturally have home-ranges of varied sizes, so that each home-range encompasses a minimum required amount of a resource. Homerange size can be estimated from telemetry data, and often key resources, or proxies for them such as the areas of important habitat types, can be mapped. We propose a new method, Resource-Area-Dependence Analysis (RADA), which uses a sample of tracked animals and a categorical map to i) infer in which map categories important resources are accessible, ii) within which home range cores they are found, and iii) estimate the mean minimum areas of these map categories required for such resource provision. We provide three examples of applying RADA to datasets of radio-tracked animals from southern England: 15 red squirrels Sciurus vulgaris, 17 gray squirrels S. carolinensis and 114 common buzzards Buteo buteo. The analyses showed that each red squirrel required a mean (95% CL) of 0.48 ha (0.24-0.97) of pine wood within the outermost home-range, each gray squirrel needed 0.34 ha (0.11-1.12) ha of mature deciduous woodland and 0.035-0.046 ha of wheat, also within the outermost home-range, while each buzzard required 0.54 ha (0.35-0.82) of rough ground close to the home-range center and 14 ha (11-17) of meadow within an intermediate core, with 52% of them also relying on 0.41 ha (0.29-0.59) of suburban land near the homerange center. RADA thus provides a useful tool to infer key animal resource requirements during studies of animal movement and habitat use.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kenward RE, Arraut EM, Robertson PA, Walls SS, Casey NM, Aebischer NJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: PLoS ONE

Year: 2018

Volume: 13

Issue: 10

Online publication date: 24/10/2018

Acceptance date: 11/10/2018

Date deposited: 13/11/2018

ISSN (electronic): 1932-6203

Publisher: Public Library of Science


DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206354

PubMed id: 30356319


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