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Understanding and sampling spatial ecological process for biodiversity conservation in heterogeneous landscapes

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dc.contributor.author Stewart, Frances Elizabeth Cameron
dc.date.accessioned 2018-05-01T18:52:50Z
dc.date.available 2018-05-01T18:52:50Z
dc.date.copyright 2018 en_US
dc.date.issued 2018-05-01
dc.identifier.uri https://dspace.library.uvic.ca//handle/1828/9329
dc.description.abstract Landscape change and biodiversity decline is a global problem and has sparked world-wide initiatives promoting biological conservation techniques such as reintroductions, protected area networks, and both preservation and restoration of landscape connectivity. Despite the increasing abundance of such working landscapes (i.e. “human-modified” landscapes), we know relatively little about their ecological mechanics; these landscapes can be vast, encompassing areas too large to obtain high resolution ecological data to test ecological process. To investigate the ecological mechanics of working landscapes, I use a small, tractable, landscape mesocosm situated in east-central Alberta, Canada, The Cooking Lake Moraine (a.k.a. the Beaver Hills Biosphere). The chapters within this dissertation quantify biodiversity across a hierarchy of measurements (from genes to communities) and investigate consistencies in ecological processes generating patterns in these biodiversity measurements across spatial scales. As a result, I investigate both a depth, and breadth, of spatial ecological processes underlying the efficacy of biodiversity conservation techniques in heterogeneous working landscapes. In Chapter I, I explore between-landscape functional connectivity by investigating the genetic contribution of reintroduced individuals to an ostensibly successfully reintroduced population within the mesocosm. I find that contemporary animals are the result of recolonization from adjacent sources rather than putative reintroduction founding individuals, indicating greater mesocosm functional connectivity to adjacent landscapes than previously thought. In Chapter II, I probe within-landscape functional connectivity by quantifying the contribution of protected areas, natural, and anthropogenic landscape features to animal movement across the mesocosm. I find that natural features had the largest effect on animal movements, despite the presence of protected areas. Chapter III investigates protected area network efficacy on biodiversity conservation by quantifying the contribution of protected areas, natural, and anthropogenic landscape features to mammalian functional diversity across multiple spatial scales within the mesocosm. I find that protected areas rarely predict functional diversity across spatial scales; instead natural features positively predict functional diversity at small spatial scales while anthropogenic features are negatively associated with biodiversity at large spatial scales. Finally, Chapter IV ties the previous three chapters together by testing implicit assumptions of the species occurrence data collected in each. I compare GPS collar data (Chapter II) to species occurrence data collected on wildlife cameras (Chapter III) to demonstrate that the magnitude of animal movements better predict species occurrence than the commonly assumed proximity of animal space use. Across chapters, two central themes emerge from this dissertation. First, the importance of natural features at small spatial scales, and anthropogenic features at large spatial scales, within the landscape matrix is predominant in predicting multiple measures of biodiversity. And second, we cannot assume predictable efficacy of conservation strategies or even the ecological process inferred from the data collected to test these strategies. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.subject landscape ecology en_US
dc.subject mammals en_US
dc.subject protected areas en_US
dc.subject reintroduction en_US
dc.subject connectivity en_US
dc.subject species occurrence data en_US
dc.title Understanding and sampling spatial ecological process for biodiversity conservation in heterogeneous landscapes en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Volpe, John
dc.contributor.supervisor Fisher, Jason Thomas
dc.degree.department School of Environmental Studies en_US
dc.degree.level Doctor of Philosophy Ph.D. en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation Stewart, F.E.C., J.P. Volpe, J.S. Taylor, J. Bowman, P. Thomas, M. Pybus, and J.T. Fisher. 2017. Distinguishing reintroduction from recolonization with genetic testing. Biological Conservation 214:242-249. en_US
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitation Stewart, F.E.C., J.T. Fisher, A.C. Burton, J.P. Volpe. 2018. Species occurrence data reflect the magnitude of animal movements better than the proximity of animal space use. Ecosphere 10.1002/ecs2.2112. en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US


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