Encounters with pinyon-juniper influence riskier movements in greater sage-grouse across the great basin
Keywordsbehavioral change point analysis
Brownian Bridge Movement Model
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CitationProchazka, B. G., Coates, P. S., Ricca, M. A., Casazza, M. L., Gustafson, K. B., & Hull, J. (2017). Encounters with pinyon-juniper influence riskier movements in greater sage-grouse across the great basin. Rangeland Ecology & Management, 70(1), 39–49.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalRangeland Ecology & Management
AbstractFine-scale spatiotemporal studies can better identify relationships between individual survival and habitat fragmentation so thatmechanistic interpretations can be made at the population level. Recent advances in Global Positioning System(GPS) technology and statistical models capable of deconstructing high-frequency location data have facilitated interpretation of animal movement within a behaviorally mechanistic framework. Habitat fragmentation due to singleleaf pinyon (Pinus monophylla; hereafter pinyon) and Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma; hereafter juniper) encroachment into sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) communities is a commonly implicated perturbation that can adversely influence greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter sage-grouse) demographic rates. Using an extensive GPS data set (233 birds and 282,954 locations) across 12 study sites within the Great Basin, we conducted a behavioral change point analysis and constructed Brownian bridgemovementmodels fromeach behaviorally homogenous section.Wefound the probability of encountering pinyon-juniper among adults was two and three times greater than that of yearlings and juveniles, respectively. However, the movement rate in response to the probability of encountering pinyon-juniper trees was 1.5 times greater for juveniles. Parameter estimates indicated a 6.1% increase in the probability of encountering pinyonjuniper coupled with a 6.2 km/hour increase in movement speed resulted in a 56%, 42% and 16% increase in risk of daily mortality, for juveniles, yearlings, and adults, respectively. The effect of pinyon-juniper encounters on survival was dependent on movement rate and differed among age class. Under fast speed movements (i.e., flight), mortality risk increased as encountering pinyon-juniper increased across all age classes. In contrast, slower speeds (i.e., average) yielded similar adverse effects for juveniles and yearlings but not for adults. This analytical framework supports a behavioral mechanism that explains reduced survival related to pinyon-juniper within sagebrush environments,whereby encountering pinyon-juniper stimulates riskier movements that likely increase vulnerability to visually acute predators.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © 2017 The Society for Range Management. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).