Landscape Maps to Support Wildlife Research
Sustaining healthy herbivore populations requires us to understand their habitat and food resources. For example: Where are critical habitat requirements, including food, cover, and nesting sites, located on the landscape? How does that affect animal movement and density? How many individuals can the landscape support?
Like many ecologists, we are fascinated by these questions. We are even more passionate about the approach that is used to answer them. Unfortunately, existing products lack the spatial extent and resolution to represent the landscape as animals see it.
That’s why we’ve created continuous foliar cover maps and accompanying methods including sampling designs, field protocols, and repeatable code. We use this mapping framework to provide biologists and managers with a better understanding of the species and systems they care about.
1) Calving site selection of moose in Bristol Bay
Watch the following talk to learn more about our habitat selection project for female moose in the Bristol Bay region. The talk starts at 1:03:00 and was presented at the 54th North American Moose Conference on December 1st, 2021.
2) Mapping forage biomass for moose in the Alphabet Hills
Collaborators: Kristin Denryter & Don Spalinger, Wildlife Nutrition Lab, ADF&G
Research Objectives: Quantify summer food availability for moose in the Alphabet Hills region.
Methods: We are producing a map of edible forage biomass using data on percent foliar cover, bite size, and bite quantity of different forage species.
Results: Our map will allow us to understand how much food is available for moose and how this availability varies over space. Because part of the study area is in a prescribed burn, we can use our results to understand how food availability is affected by fire history and habitat management techniques.
Amanda Droghini is a movement ecologist and the lead of the Wildlife Ecology Program. She obtained her B.S. from McGill University and her M.S. from the University of Alberta. Her thesis considered the effects of snow conditions and human linear features on the movements of grey wolves. Amanda has over 7 years of experience programming and analyzing large datasets in R and geographic information systems (GIS). She joined ACCS in 2016 and enjoys building relationships with scientists across the state.
Publications & Datasets
Droghini, A., T.W. Nawrocki, P.A. Schuette, A. Aderman, and K. Colson. In prep. Spatial modeling of habitat preferences quantifies individual variation in maternal tradeoffs among moose in Bristol Bay, Alaska.
Nawrocki, T.W., M.L. Carlson, A.F. Wells, M.J. Macander, E. Jamie Trammell, F.D.W. Witmer, C.A. Roland, D.K. Swanson. 2021. Continuous Foliar Cover of Plant Species and Aggregates in North American Beringia. Map User Guide and Accuracy Assessment. Version 1.0 (May 2021). Available on the ACCS Catalog.
Droghini, A., and T.W. Nawrocki. 2021. Habitat Selection of Moose during Calving Season in Southwest Alaska. Git Repository. Available: https://github.com/accs-uaa/southwest-alaska-moose
Nawrocki, T.W., M.L. Carlson, J.L.D. Osnas, E.J. Trammell, and F.D.W. Witmer. 2020. Regional mapping of species-level continuous foliar cover: beyond categorical vegetation mapping. Ecological Applications. DOI:10.1002/eap.2081.
Nawrocki, T., M. Carlson, J. Osnas, J. Trammell, and F. Witmer. 2019. Foliar cover models for five common plant species in arctic Alaska circa 2014 (30 m). Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity. DOI:10.5063/F1ZW1J8P.
Work With Us
We partner with collaborators who are passionate about wildlife and excited to move ecological research in new directions. Schedule a call with us to start a conversation.