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Same habitat types but different use: evidence of context-dependent habitat selection in roe deer across populations

Abstract : With the surge of GPS-technology, many studies uncovered space use of mobile animals and shed light on the underlying behavioral mechanisms of habitat selection. Habitat selection and variation in either occurrence or strength of functional responses (i.e. how selection changes with availability) have given new insight into such mechanisms within populations in different ecosystems. However, linking variation in habitat selection to site-specific conditions in different populations facing contrasting environmental conditions but the same habitat type has not yet been investigated. We aimed to fill this knowledge gap by comparing within-home range habitat selection across 61 female roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) during the most critical life history stage in three study areas showing the same habitat types but with different environmental conditions. Female roe deer markedly differed in habitat selection within their home range, both within and among populations. Females facing poor environmental conditions clearly displayed a functional response, whereas females facing rich environmental conditions did not show any functional response. These results demonstrate how the use of a given habitat relative to its availability strongly varies in response to environmental conditions. Our findings highlight that the same habitat composition can lead to very different habitat selection processes across contrasted environments.
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Contributor : Christophe Bonenfant <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 2:50:05 AM
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Gaudry William, Jean-Michel Gaillard, Saïd Sonia, Christophe Bonenfant, Mysterud Atle, et al.. Same habitat types but different use: evidence of context-dependent habitat selection in roe deer across populations. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2018, 8 (1), ⟨10.1038/s41598-018-23111-0⟩. ⟨hal-01892028⟩

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