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Home range size scales to habitat amount and increasing fragmentation in a mobile woodland specialist


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Gardiner, R, Proft, KM ORCID: 0000-0003-2895-5186, Comte, S, Jones, ME ORCID: 0000-0001-7558-9022 and Johnson, CN ORCID: 0000-0002-9719-3771 2019 , 'Home range size scales to habitat amount and increasing fragmentation in a mobile woodland specialist' , Ecology and Evolution, vol. 9, no. 24 , pp. 14005-14014 , doi: 10.1002/ece3.5837.

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Studies of impacts of fragmentation have focused heavily on measures of species presence or absence in fragments, or species richness in relation to fragmentation, but have often not considered the effects of fragmentation on ranging behavior of individual species. Effective management will benefit from knowledge of the effects of fragmentation on space use by species.We investigated how a woodland specialist, the eastern bettong (Bettongia gaimardi), responded to fragmentation in an agricultural landscape, the Midlands region of Tasmania, Australia. We tested whether individual bettongs could adjust home range size to maintain access to essential habitat across three sites differing in degree of fragmentation.We used GPS tracking to measure the home ranges of individual bettongs. Our models tested the effects of habitat aggregation and habitat amount measured at two radii comparable to a typical core range (250 m) and a typical home range (750 m), and habitat quality and sex on individual home range. We also tested the relationship between fragmentation on woodland used to determine whether individuals could compensate for fragmentation.Depending on the spatial scale of fragmentation measured, bettongs altered their movement to meet their habitat requirements. Our top model suggested that at the core range scale, individuals had smaller ranges when habitat is more aggregated. The second model showed support for habitat amount at the core range, suggesting individuals can occupy larger areas when there is a higher amount of habitat, regardless of configuration.Species that are relatively mobile may be able to compensate for the effects of habitat fragmentation by altering their movement. We highlight that any patch size is of value within a home range and management efforts should focus on maintaining sufficient habitat especially at the core range scale.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Gardiner, R and Proft, KM and Comte, S and Jones, ME and Johnson, CN
Keywords: fragmentation, habitat amount, home range, management, restoration, farmland, woodland
Journal or Publication Title: Ecology and Evolution
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN: 2045-7758
DOI / ID Number: 10.1002/ece3.5837
Copyright Information:

© 2019 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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