Dynamic response of East Asian Greater White-fronted Geese to changes of environment during migration: Use of multi-temporal species distribution model

Xueyan Li, Yali Si, Luyan Ji, Peng Gong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding how migratory species select habitats is essential for applied ecology and biological conservation. Although migratory species move across a wide range of environments during migration, their dynamic response to environments has rarely been considered. Taking advantage of the fine spatial-temporal resolution of satellite tracking data, we studied habitat selection of East Asian greater white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons) along their spring migration route from Yangtze River Basin to Lena Delta and Yana Bay. We developed a novel methodology to improve dynamic species distribution models (SDMs) by incorporating environmental variables derived from remotely sensed data precisely corresponding to migration time. Our results demonstrate that distance to the nearest water body, elevation, human population density and temperature contribute greatly to the models. Water-related and topographic factors (e.g., elevation, slope and distance to the nearest water body) were consistently associated with habitat selection of the geese from wintering area to breeding area, while the varied influences of temperature and human population density in different migration periods are closely related to their adaptation to local environments. In addition, response curves of vegetation index indicate that the geese are more strongly associated with food quality than quantity in wintering area and stopover sites. By building SDMs in different periods, we provide a unique dynamic perspective on how a long-distance migrant responds to different environments. The methodology proposed here could be integrated to future conservation management plans for predicting species relationship with fast changing environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-79
JournalEcological Modelling
Volume360
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Dynamic water mask
  • Habitat selection
  • Multi-temporal
  • Remote sensing
  • Satellite tracking
  • Species distribution model (SDM)
  • Spring migration

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