While much is known about the endangered Hawaiian goose or Nēnē (Branta sandvicensis) during the breeding season, very little is understood about their movements and habitat use in the non-breeding season. Seasonal movement patterns of the Nēnē have only recently been re-established on Hawai'i Island after a severe population reduction during the mid-20th century. The objectives of this research were to compare habitat use versus availability, thereby identifying habitats preferred by Nēnē, and how preferences shift seasonally. Because habitat selection modeling may yield different results when measured at different scales, I determined factors influencing habitat selection by Nēnē at both meso- and fine scales. In 2009–2011, ten Nēnē ganders on Hawai'i Island were outfitted with 40–45 gram satellite transmitters with GPS capability. At the meso-scale, locations used by Nene were compared to geospatial and land cover classification attributes of randomly generated location points as a measure of availability across five study sites on Hawai'i Island for a total of 1352 records. Fine-scale habitat selection modeling consisted of 396 point-intercept vegetation plots sampled at used and available locations at four study sites across Hawai'i Island. I used a binomial GLM at both scales of analysis to create habitat selection models. Meso-scale habitat modeling revealed that Nēnē prefer exotic grass and human-modified landscapes during the breeding and molting periods and higher elevation locations dominated by native shrubland during the non-breeding period. The best model supported by QAICc (wi = 0.91) included four main effects: seasonal period, elevation, distance to water, land cover class; and two interactions: elevation x land cover class, and seasonal period x distance to water. Fine-scale model results added little to the top-ranked meso-scale model. Understanding Nēnē habitat selection throughout the year on an island-wide scale may allow for more effective management of this endangered species.
|Advisor:||Hart, Patrick J.|
|School:||University of Hawai'i at Hilo|
|School Location:||United States -- Hawaii|
|Source:||MAI 50/04M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Wildlife Conservation, Wildlife Management, Conservation|
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