Assessing carnivore distribution using camera traps in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts
U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service
Northeast Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Environmental Conservation
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Graduate School
My specific objective is to assess carnivore distribution across the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts by relating species-specific photo locations to landscape characteristics via statistical models. I hypothesize that each species will have a distribution that is based upon site and landscape characteristics. Each species’ distribution (photo locations) will correspond to features like vegetation type; distance to next nearest “other” vegetation type; distance to water, roads or urbanization; elevation; and land use category, as well as the frequency of photos of sympatric species, whether prey or competitor. I propose that, analogous with the intermediate disturbance hypothesis which states that the highest levels of biodiversity are maintained at intermediate levels of disturbance, the focal species will utilize “altered” landscapes more frequently than natural or urban land ones, because of the increased amount of resources that come from creating edge habitat as a result of human development. The statistical model for each species should capture the characteristics that are most important to the distribution of that species and thus be useful for future carnivore management.
Updated: August 28, 2013