Evaluating expert-based habitat suitability information of terrestrial mammals with GPS-tracking data

Maarten J.E. Broekman, Jelle P. Hilbers, Mark A.J. Huijbregts, Thomas Mueller, Abdullahi H. Ali, Henrik Andrén, Jeanne Altmann, Malin Aronsson, Nina Attias, Hattie L.A. Bartlam-Brooks, Floris M. van Beest, Jerrold L. Belant, Dean E. Beyer, Laura Bidner, Niels Blaum, Randall B. Boone, Mark S. Boyce, Michael B. Brown, Francesca Cagnacci, Rok ČerneSimon Chamaillé-Jammes, Nandintsetseg Dejid, Jasja Dekker, Arnaud L. J. Desbiez, Samuel L. Díaz-Muñoz, Julian Fennessy, Claudia Fichtel, Christina Fischer, Jason T. Fisher, Ilya Fischhoff, Adam T. Ford, John M. Fryxell, Benedikt Gehr, Jacob R. Goheen, Morgan Hauptfleisch, A. J.Mark Hewison, Robert Hering, Marco Heurich, Lynne A. Isbell, René Janssen, Florian Jeltsch, Petra Kaczensky, Peter M. Kappeler, Miha Krofel, Scott LaPoint, A. David M. Latham, John D.C. Linnell, A. Catherine Markham, Jenny Mattisson, Emilia Patricia Medici, Guilherme de Miranda Mourão, Bram Van Moorter, Ronaldo G. Morato, Nicolas Morellet, Atle Mysterud, Stephen Mwiu, John Odden, Kirk A. Olson, Aivars Ornicāns, Nives Pagon, Manuela Panzacchi, Jens Persson, Tyler Petroelje, Christer Moe Rolandsen, David Roshier, Daniel I. Rubenstein, Sonia Saïd, Albert R. Salemgareyev, Hall Sawyer, Niels Martin Schmidt, Nuria Selva, Agnieszka Sergiel, Jared Stabach, Jenna Stacy-Dawes, Frances E.C. Stewart, Jonas Stiegler, Olav Strand, Siva Sundaresan, Nathan J. Svoboda, Wiebke Ullmann, Ulrich Voigt, Jake Wall, Martin Wikelski, Christopher C. Wilmers, Filip Zięba, Tomasz Zwijacz-Kozica, Aafke M. Schipper, Marlee A. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aim: Macroecological studies that require habitat suitability data for many species often derive this information from expert opinion. However, expert-based information is inherently subjective and thus prone to errors. The increasing availability of GPS tracking data offers opportunities to evaluate and supplement expert-based information with detailed empirical evidence. Here, we compared expert-based habitat suitability information from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with habitat suitability information derived from GPS-tracking data of 1,498 individuals from 49 mammal species. Location: Worldwide. Time period: 1998–2021. Major taxa studied: Forty-nine terrestrial mammal species. Methods: Using GPS data, we estimated two measures of habitat suitability for each individual animal: proportional habitat use (proportion of GPS locations within a habitat type), and selection ratio (habitat use relative to its availability). For each individual we then evaluated whether the GPS-based habitat suitability measures were in agreement with the IUCN data. To that end, we calculated the probability that the ranking of empirical habitat suitability measures was in agreement with IUCN's classification into suitable, marginal and unsuitable habitat types. Results: IUCN habitat suitability data were in accordance with the GPS data (> 95% probability of agreement) for 33 out of 49 species based on proportional habitat use estimates and for 25 out of 49 species based on selection ratios. In addition, 37 and 34 species had a > 50% probability of agreement based on proportional habitat use and selection ratios, respectively. Main conclusions: We show how GPS-tracking data can be used to evaluate IUCN habitat suitability data. Our findings indicate that for the majority of species included in this study, it is appropriate to use IUCN habitat suitability data in macroecological studies. Furthermore, we show that GPS-tracking data can be used to identify and prioritize species and habitat types for re-evaluation of IUCN habitat suitability data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1526-1541
Number of pages16
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Volume31
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Keywords

  • GPS
  • IUCN
  • expert opinion
  • habitat suitability
  • habitat type
  • habitat use
  • mammals
  • movement
  • selection ratio
  • telemetry

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