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Title: Does the scale of our observational window affect our conclusions about correlations between endangered salmon populations and their habitat?

Author: Feist, Blake E.; Steel, E. Ashley; Jensen, David W.; Sather, Damon N.D.;

Date: 2010

Source: Landscape Ecology. 25: 727-743

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Differences in the strength of species-habitat relationships across scales provide insights into the mechanisms that drive these relationships and guidance for designing in situ monitoring programs, conservation efforts and mechanistic studies. The scale of our observation can also impact the strength of perceived relationships between animals and habitat conditions. We examined the relationship between geographic information system (GIS)-based landscape data and Endangered Species Act-listed anadromous Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) populations in three subbasins of the Columbia River basin, USA. We characterized the landscape data and ran our models at three spatial scales: local (stream reach), intermediate (6th field hydrologic units directly in contact with a given reach) and catchment (entire drainage basin). We addressed three questions about the effect of scale on relationships between salmon and GIS representations of landscape conditions: (1) at which scale does each predictor best correlate with salmon redd density, (2) at which scale is overall model fit maximized, and (3) how does a mixed-scale model compare with single scale models (mixed-scale meaning models that contain variables characterized at different spatial scales)?

Keywords: multiple spatial scales, spatial extent, habitat, pacific salmon, land use, spatial analysis, restoration, conservation

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Feist, Blake E.; Steel, E. Ashley; Jensen, David W.; Sather, Damon N.D. 2010. Does the scale of our observational window affect our conclusions about correlations between endangered salmon populations and their habitat? Landscape Ecology. 25: 727-743.

 


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