Funded Research Projects: WILDLIFE SCIENCE

Animals on the move: Remotely based determination of key drivers influencing movements and habitat selection of highly mobile fauna throughout the ABoVE study domain

Research Sponsored By: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Principal Investigator: Laura Prugh
Project Description
Recent studies suggest that animal habitat throughout the Arctic-Boreal region (ABR) is undergoing rapid and profound change. Highly mobile fauna of the ABR must navigate through an increasingly complex and dynamic mosaic of environmental and land surface conditions, but how vulnerable or resistant their long-term persistence is to the increasing spatiotemporal heterogeneity is unknown. Recent and emerging advances in space-based animal tracking technology allow direct measurement of wildlife movements across animal taxa, over vast and remote regions, and over multiple years. Our overarching science goal is to understand how highly mobile terrestrial fauna navigate and select habitat in the rapidly changing ABR. Facilitated by many data-sharing collaborations with US and Canadian government agencies, we will use space-based wildlife tracking technology to build an integrated dataset of regional-scale and near-continuous descrptions of passerine (American robins), raptor (Golden Eagles, ungulate (caribou, moose) and predator (wolf and brown bear) locations with both static and dynamic remote sensing products and other regional-scale geospatial datasets. We will use this data to build movement and habitat selection models for multiple groups of animals across the ABoVE Study Domain. The geospatial tools and products will be made accessible to natural resource agencies, wildlife managers, First Nations, Alaskan natives, and other stakeholders to aid them in management and adaptation decisions. Further, our novel models and geospatial tools will be available for Phase 2 and 3 ABoVE studies in which future projections of animal movement and habitat selection will be made, and subsequently used to determine societal consequences and develop decision support products.