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Title: Bridging the gap between movement data and connectivity analysis using the Time-Explicit Habitat Selection (TEHS) model
Abstract Background

Understanding how to connect habitat remnants to facilitate the movement of species is a critical task in an increasingly fragmented world impacted by human activities. The identification of dispersal routes and corridors through connectivity analysis requires measures of landscape resistance but there has been no consensus on how to calculate resistance from habitat characteristics, potentially leading to very different connectivity outcomes.


We propose a new model, called the Time-Explicit Habitat Selection (TEHS) model, that can be directly used for connectivity analysis. The TEHS model decomposes the movement process in a principled approach into a time and a selection component, providing complementary information regarding space use by separately assessing the drivers of time to traverse the landscape and the drivers of habitat selection. These models are illustrated using GPS-tracking data from giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) in the Pantanal wetlands of Brazil.


The time model revealed that the fastest movements tended to occur between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., suggesting a crepuscular/nocturnal behavior. Giant anteaters moved faster over wetlands while moving much slower over forests and savannas, in comparison to grasslands. We also found that wetlands were consistently avoided whereas forest and savannas tended to be selected. Importantly, this model revealed that selection for forest increased with temperature, suggesting that forests may act as important thermal shelters when temperatures are high. Finally, using the spatial absorbing Markov chain framework, we show that the TEHS model results can be used to simulate movement and connectivity within a fragmented landscape, revealing that giant anteaters will often not use the shortest-distance path to the destination patch due to avoidance of certain habitats.


The proposed approach can be used to characterize how landscape features are perceived by individuals through the decomposition of movement patterns into a time and a habitat selection component. Additionally, this framework can help bridge the gap between movement-based models and connectivity analysis, enabling the generation of time-explicit connectivity results.

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Publisher / Repository:
Springer Science + Business Media
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Movement Ecology
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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