Improving rigour and efficiency of use-availability habitat selection analyses with systematic estimation of availability
Article first published online: 21 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Author. Methods in Ecology and Evolution © 2012 British Ecological Society
Methods in Ecology and Evolution
Volume 4, Issue 3, pages 244–251, March 2013
How to Cite
Benson, J. F. (2013), Improving rigour and efficiency of use-availability habitat selection analyses with systematic estimation of availability. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 4: 244–251. doi: 10.1111/2041-210x.12006
- Issue published online: 14 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 21 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 9 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Received: 10 SEP 2012
- Euclidean distance;
- florida panthers;
- resource selection;
- random sampling;
- Animal habitat selection analyses often rely on comparisons of habitat use and availability to infer selection. Random locations are commonly used to assess availability despite inefficiency and potential uncertainty associated with random sampling. Herein, I propose a systematic approach to estimate habitat availability to reduce sampling error and computing time associated with GIS-based estimation of habitat availability using random locations.
- I used Euclidean distance analysis (EDA) as a model technique to demonstrate the sensitivity of use-availability analyses to insufficient random sampling and to evaluate the proposed systematic approach. I re-analysed data from a previous study of habitat selection of Florida panthers (Puma concolor coryi) and compared results of analyses in which distance-based habitat availability (i.e. expected distance) was estimated with a range in sample sizes of random locations, and also systematically.
- My results demonstrate that expected distances and statistical results of EDA based on random sampling can be unreliable with low and arbitrary numbers of random points, vary if increasing numbers of points are used, and approach results obtained systematically at greater numbers of points (i.e. with sufficient sampling).
- The systematic approach efficiently measures habitat availability by making calculations from all possible locations, at a specified resolution, across the scale of interest. Thus, it eliminates uncertainty due to sampling error and is considerably faster. The systematic approach improves rigour and efficiency of animal habitat selection analyses that rely on comparisons of habitat use and availability and ensures repeatability of results for practical and theoretical applications.