Conspecific Attraction is a Missing Component in Wildlife Habitat Modeling

Authors


acampomizzi@neo.tamu.edu

Abstract

Abstract Wildlife biologists use knowledge about wildlife-habitat relationships to create habitat models to predict species occurrence across a landscape. Researchers attribute limitations in predictive ability of a habitat model to data deficiencies, missing parameters, error introduced by specifications of the statistical model, and natural variation. Few wildlife biologists, however, have incorporated intra- and interspecific interactions (e.g., conspecific attraction, competition, predator-prey relationships) to increase predictive accuracy of habitat models. Based on our literature review and preliminary data analysis, conspecific attraction can be a primary factor influencing habitat selection in wildlife. Conspecific attraction can lead to clustered distributions of wildlife within available habitat, reducing the predictive ability of habitat models based on vegetative and geographic parameters alone. We suggest wildlife biologists consider incorporating a parameter in habitat models for the clustered distribution of individuals within available habitat and investigate the mechanisms leading to clustered distributions of species, especially conspecific attraction.

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