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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SNOW AND HYDROLOGIC PROCESSES IN THE INTERMOUNTAIN WEST

Location: Northwest Watershed Management Research

Title: Using high frequency GPS to determine spatial-temporal activity of ungualtes

Authors
item Johnson, Michael - UC SANTA BARBARA
item Clark, Patrick
item Ganskopp, David
item Cook, Rachael - WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSI
item Varva, Martin - USFS
item Louhaichi, Mounir - OREGON STATE UNIV
item Johnson, Douglas - OREGON STATE UNIV

Submitted to: American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 26, 2007
Publication Date: April 28, 2008
Citation: Johnson, M.D., Clark, P., Ganskopp, D.C., Cook, R.C., Varva, M., Louhaichi, M., and Johnson, D.E. 2008. Using high frequency GPS to determine spatial-temporal activity of ungualtes. IN: 2008 Annual Conference Proceedings of teh ASPRS. April 28-May 2, 2008. Portland, OR. American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.

Interpretive Summary: Ungulate behavioral and activity data are typically gathered via direct observation thus can be very expensive and difficult obtain. We constructed GPS tracking collars, which collect location data once every second, to determine if we could detect spatial/temporal activities of elk and beef cattle under natural conditions. We found collar-derived activities (stationary, foraging, traveling with intent and flight) compared well with direct observation data. This findings help validate GPS collars as tool to be used by researchers and natural resource managers to better understand fine-scale animal behavior and its consequences on foraging efficiency and competitive relationships between species.

Technical Abstract: Range and wildlife managers are interested in the spatial-temporal context of behavioral activities such as foraging, resting, and sheltering as well as herding dynamics of ungulates on landscapes. They are particularly interested in these activities because of their importance for animal energetics and range site or habitat type requirements. Information about ungulate behavioral activity is typically obtained via direct observation; however this can be very expensive and difficult. We constructed GPS collars that collect location data every second to determine if we could detect spatial/temporal activities of ungulates under natural conditions. The spatial behavior of adult female elk (Cervus elaphus) and beef cattle (Bos taurus) was examined while they were grazing rangelands on the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range, 34 km west of La Grande, Oregon (118.505225°W 45.242308°N). Movement patterns of 10 elk cows and 10 beef cows were monitored by direct observation and by continuously recording GPS collars. Collars stored about 84,400 positional fixes each day for each animal. We compared visual observations with computer-derived activities (stationary, foraging, traveling with intent and flight). Automatic data handling and extraction algorithms were programmed to separate and graph animal activity on a diurnal basis. Locations when animals were stationary were extracted and minimum convex polygons constructed along with a database that lists start and end times as well as duration.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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