It’s a Small World: Evaluating Micro-GPS Technologies and Factors Influencing Habitat Use by Pygmy Rabbits in Idaho Thesis uri icon



  • Thesis (M.S., Natural Resources) -- University of Idaho, 2017 | The goals of this research were to 1) evaluate the efficacy of micro-GPS receivers to collect accurate data for habitat selection studies of small mammals, and 2) contrast factors shaping habitat selection across hierarchical behaviors with a two-stage, hurdle modeling approach. We conducted field trials on pygmy rabbits (Brachylagus idahoensis) to evaluate GPS performance and to quantify both selection of habitat patches and intensity of patch use. This work suggested that micro-GPS telemetry can be implemented to address fine-scale questions regarding habitat selection, but an understanding of the heterogeneity of the landscape and animal behavior is necessary. At a relatively coarse behavioral level, rabbits selected resources that minimized predation risk, however, at a finer scale, rabbits intensively used patches with increased availability of seasonal forages. The use of micro-GPS receivers and hurdle models provide opportunities for assessing habitat selection at multiple spatial scales and behavioral levels.

publication date

  • June 1, 2017