Connecting applied statistical methods
to wildlife ecology.
Change-point models for detecting behavioral transitions in wild animals.Kathleen P. Gundermann, D.R. Diefenbach, W.D. Walter, A.M. Corondi, J.E. Banfield, B.D. Wallingford, D.P. Stainbrook, C.R. Rosenberry, & F.E. Buderman
I developed two change-point models for identifying singular changes in movement behavior: a location-based and a movement metric-based model. I applied these models to two ungulate species, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and elk (Cervus canadensis) in central Pennsylvania with the goal of identifying parturition events. Previous research and anecdotal evidence suggest that these two species exhibit different location- and movement-based changes during parturition.
Anthropogenic source of predation and how movement behaviors change over the course of a hunting seasonKathleen P. Gundermann, D.R. Diefenbach, B.D. Wallingford, D.P. Stainbrook, C.R. Rosenberry, & F.E. Buderman
Predator activity can alter behavior of prey species, as prey must balance habitat benefits with predation risk. In the eastern U.S., recreational hunting is the primary source of mortality for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). Hunting, like predation, can modify how deer perceive the risks and rewards of a landscape, which can change their space-use and movement behavior. We developed two Bayesian state-switching hidden Markov-models, one describing location-based changes and another describing movement-metric based changes. Our results indicate that hunting season may not be a driving factor influencing the transition between behavioral states in most individuals. Humans may not be identified as a replacement predator by deer and increased human presence might not precipitate behavioral shifts.
Ecological characteristics of diurnal rest sites used by ringtailsKathleen P. Gundermann, D.S. Green, F.E. Buderman, C. Myers, J.M. Higley, R. Brown, & S.M. Matthews
The ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) is a species of conservation concern. Yet, little is known about their basic ecology in the northwestern edge of their range. Understanding the forest conditions associated with rest sites selected by ringtails can inform forest management practices. We found that ringtails were more likely to select rest sites in mature older forests compared to oak woodland and open areas and were less likely to select rest sites closer to perennial water sources. We did not detect an effect of fishers on the selection of rest sites. These results indicate that both late- and some early-seral forest conditions provide suitable habitat for ringtail rest sites and ultimately demonstrate that ringtails use a mosaic of seral stages in the forests of the Pacific Northwest.
Using supplemental data sources to estimate occupancy of secretive marsh birdsKathleen P. Gundermann, S. Murphy, C. Lutz, L. Williams, F.E. Buderman
Understanding distributions and habitat associations of species of conservation concern is critical for making appropriate management recommendations. However, some species, such as marsh birds, are difficult to monitor due to their secretive nature. In Pennsylvania, many marsh birds are considered species of conservation need and are primarily monitored through systematic, repeated detection/non-detection surveys. However, additional data sources on marsh birds are available through semi-structured surveys conducted by volunteers using guidelines provided by the Pennsylvania Game Commission and unstructured community science data (e.g., eBird). Our objective is to compare the effect of supplemental data sources on the precision of site-level occupancy estimates using a multi-species, integrated data occupancy model in a Bayesian framework.
Highlighting recently published work in peer-reviewed journals.