TITLE

Experimental trials of the northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) traversing managed rainforest landscapes: perceptual range and fine-scale movements

AUTHOR(S)
Flaherty, E. A.; Smith, W. P.; Pyare, S.; Ben-David, M.
PUB. DATE
September 2008
SOURCE
Canadian Journal of Zoology;Sep2008, Vol. 86 Issue 9, p1050
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Successful dispersal in many species may be a function of the distance at which animals can perceive a particular landscape feature (i.e., perceptual range), as well as energetic costs associated with traversing the distance towards that feature. We used a model, relating perceptual range to body size of mammals, to predict the perceptual range of the northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus (Shaw, 1801)) in fragmented forests of Southeast Alaska. We hypothesized that the perceptual range of flying squirrels would be 325.5-356.5 m in clearcuts and 159.7-174.9 m in second-growth stands. The distance advantage in clearcuts may, however, be lost if the cost of transport in that habitat is higher. Our results suggest that as heuristically predicted by the model, the perceptual range of flying squirrels was greater in clearcut habitats than in second-growth stands. Nonetheless, for both habitats the actual perceptual range was significantly shorter than predicted by the model. We found that precipitation, and associated cloud cover and illumination, and wind speed, which affect olfaction capabilities, influenced orientation success. Although squirrels more often oriented towards the forest edge in clearcuts, they paused more often during their movements, which may lead to higher costs of dispersing through this habitat. The application of the mass-based model to nonagricultural landscapes should be done with caution, and variables such as wind and illumination be measured concurrently. Our data illustrate that dispersing squirrels likely will not venture into managed habitats because logging creates clearcuts larger than the perceptual range of these mammals. La réussite de la dispersion peut être fonction de la distance à laquelle les animaux peuvent percevoir un élément particulier du paysage (c’est-à-dire la portée de leur perception), ainsi que des coûts énergétiques associés à la distance à parcourir vers cet élément. Nous utilisons un modèle qui relie la portée de la perception à la taille corporelle chez les mammifères afin de prédire la portée de la perception chez le grand polatouche (Glaucomys sabrinus (Shaw, 1801)) dans des forêts fragmentées du sud-est de l’Alaska. Nous avons établi en hypothèse que la portée de la perception des polatouches serait de 325.5-356.5 m dans les zones de coupe à blanc et de 159.7-174.9 m dans les peuplements secondaires. L’avantage lié à la distance dans les zones de coupe à blanc peut, cependant, être perdu si les coûts du déplacement dans cet habitat sont plus élevés. Nos résultats indiquent que, comme le prédit de manière heuristique le modèle, la portée de la perception des polatouches est plus grande dans les habitats de coupe à blanc que dans les peuplements secondaires. Néanmoins, dans les deux habitats, la portée réelle de la perception est significativement inférieure aux prédictions du modèle. Les précipitations et la couverture nuageuse et l’éclairement qui les accompagnent, ainsi que la vitesse du vent qui affecte les capacités de l’olfaction, influencent le succès de l’orientation. Bien que les polatouches se dirigent plus fréquemment vers l’orée des forêts dans les zones de coupe à blanc, ils s’arrêtent plus souvent au cours de leurs déplacements, ce qui peut mener à des coûts plus élevés de la dispersion dans cet habitat. On doit utiliser avec prudence le modèle basé sur la masse dans les paysages non agricoles et il est nécessaire de mesurer concurremment les variables telles que le vent et l’éclairement. Nos données montrent que les polatouches durant leur dispersion ne vont vraisemblablement pas s’aventurer dans les habitats aménagés parce que la coupe forestière crée des zones de coupe à blanc plus étendues que la portée de la perception de ces mammifères.
ACCESSION #
34173101

 

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