LesmerisesSt-Laurent2017

Référence

Lesmerises, R. and St-Laurent, M.-H. (2017) Not accounting for interindividual variability can mask habitat selection patterns: a case study on black bears. Oecologia, 185(3):415-425. (URL )

Résumé

Habitat selection studies conducted at the population scale commonly aim to describe general patterns that could improve our understanding of the limiting factors in species-habitat relationships. Researchers often consider interindividual variation in selection patterns to control for its effects and avoid pseudoreplication by using mixed-effect models that include individuals as random factors. Here, we highlight common pitfalls and possible misinterpretations of this strategy by describing habitat selection of 21 black bears Ursus americanus. We used Bayesian mixed-effect models and compared results obtained when using random intercept (i.e., population level) versus calculating individual coefficients for each independent variable (i.e., individual level). We then related interindividual variability to individual characteristics (i.e., age, sex, reproductive status, body condition) in a multivariate analysis. The assumption of comparable behavior among individuals was verified only in 40% of the cases in our seasonal best models. Indeed, we found strong and opposite responses among sampled bears and individual coefficients were linked to individual characteristics. For some covariates, contrasted responses canceled each other out at the population level. In other cases, interindividual variability was concealed by the composition of our sample, with the majority of the bears (e.g., old individuals and bears in good physical condition) driving the population response (e.g., selection of young forest cuts). Our results stress the need to consider interindividual variability to avoid misinterpretation and uninformative results, especially for a flexible and opportunistic species. This study helps to identify some ecological drivers of interindividual variability in bear habitat selection patterns.

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@ARTICLE { LesmerisesSt-Laurent2017,
    AUTHOR = { Lesmerises, R. and St-Laurent, M.-H. },
    TITLE = { Not accounting for interindividual variability can mask habitat selection patterns: a case study on black bears },
    JOURNAL = { Oecologia },
    YEAR = { 2017 },
    VOLUME = { 185 },
    NUMBER = { 3 },
    PAGES = { 415-425 },
    MONTH = { nov },
    ISSN = { 1432-1939 },
    ABSTRACT = { Habitat selection studies conducted at the population scale commonly aim to describe general patterns that could improve our understanding of the limiting factors in species-habitat relationships. Researchers often consider interindividual variation in selection patterns to control for its effects and avoid pseudoreplication by using mixed-effect models that include individuals as random factors. Here, we highlight common pitfalls and possible misinterpretations of this strategy by describing habitat selection of 21 black bears Ursus americanus. We used Bayesian mixed-effect models and compared results obtained when using random intercept (i.e., population level) versus calculating individual coefficients for each independent variable (i.e., individual level). We then related interindividual variability to individual characteristics (i.e., age, sex, reproductive status, body condition) in a multivariate analysis. The assumption of comparable behavior among individuals was verified only in 40% of the cases in our seasonal best models. Indeed, we found strong and opposite responses among sampled bears and individual coefficients were linked to individual characteristics. For some covariates, contrasted responses canceled each other out at the population level. In other cases, interindividual variability was concealed by the composition of our sample, with the majority of the bears (e.g., old individuals and bears in good physical condition) driving the population response (e.g., selection of young forest cuts). Our results stress the need to consider interindividual variability to avoid misinterpretation and uninformative results, especially for a flexible and opportunistic species. This study helps to identify some ecological drivers of interindividual variability in bear habitat selection patterns. },
    OWNER = { Daniel Lesieur },
    REFID = { Lesmerises2017 },
    TIMESTAMP = { 2018-09-11 },
    URL = { https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-017-3939-8 },
}

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