Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Wildlife
Committee Chair Name
Dr. Ho Yi Wan
Committee Chair Affiliation
HSU Faculty or Staff
Second Committee Member Name
Dr. Micaela Szykman Gunther
Second Committee Member Affiliation
HSU Faculty or Staff
Third Committee Member Name
Dr. Samuel Alan Cushman
Third Committee Member Affiliation
Community Member or Outside Professional
Habitat fragmentation and loss are major threats to species conservation worldwide. Studying species-habitat relationships is a crucial first step toward understanding species habitat requirements, which is necessary for conservation and management planning. However, some species inhabit a range of habitat types, potentially making the use of range-wide habitat models inappropriate due to non-stationarity. The Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida) (MSO) is a species that inhabits both forests and rocky canyonlands, two habitats with large differences in environmental conditions. It is unclear whether the species uses habitat differently in these two habitat types or if previously builthabitat models for forest-dwelling owls can be used to understand where MSO use habitat in rocky canyonlands. To explore this, we developed the first scale-optimized habitat suitability model for this subspecies of spotted owl in rocky canyonlands using an ensemble framework. I then compared my results with a previously builthabitat model for MSO in forested areas. In the rocky canyonland model, slope (800 m scale), cumulative degree days (1200 m scale), insolation (1000 m scale), and monsoon precipitation (100 m scale) were the most important environmental covariates. In contrast, in the forest model, percent canopy cover (100 m scale), percent mixed-conifer (5000 m scale), and slope (500 m scale) were the most important environmental covariates. The rocky canyonland model performed well, while the forest model performed poorly and predicted low suitability across the entire study area, including areas with known nesting locations. These results confirm the non-stationarity in habitat use for MSOs between rocky canyonland and forest habitats and underscore the importance of accounting for non-stationarity across different geographic regions when modeling habitat. Hence, when transferring habitat suitability models from one region to another, it is necessary to evaluate the transferability of the model by accounting for non-stationarity.
Journal of Wildlife Management
Nayeri, Danial, "Comparing Mexican spotted owl habitat suitability in two different habitat types using a multi-scale ensemble learning framework" (2023). Cal Poly Humboldt theses and projects. 660.