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Integration of SAS and GIS Software to Improve Habitat Use Estimates From Radiotelemetry Data

Kevin P. Kenow, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Upper Mississippi Science Center, P.O. Box 818, La Crosse, WI 54602 USA, Robert G. Wright1, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 3550 Mormon Coulee Road, La Crosse, WI 54601 USA, Michael D. Samuel, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, National Wildlife Health Center, 6006 Schroeder Road, Madison, WI 53711 USA, and Paul W. Rasmussen, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 1350 Femrite Drive, Madison, WI 53716 USA

Determination of habitat use patterns is a common practice for wildlife radiotelemetry studies. However, habitat misclassification can occur because the true location of a radiomarked animal can only be estimated. Analytical methods that provide improved estimates of habitat use from radiotelemetry location data using a subsampling approach have previously been proposed. We developed software, based on these methods, to conduct improved habitat use analyses. A SAS executable file generates a random subsample of points from the error distribution of an estimated animal location (Fig. 1) and formats the output into ARC/INFO-compatible coordinate and attribute files. An associated ARC/INFO AML creates a coverage of the random points, determines the habitat type at each random point from an existing habitat coverage, sums the number of subsample points by habitat type for each location, and outputs the results in ASCII format. The proportion and precision of habitat types used is calculated from the subsample of points generated for each radiotelemetry location. We illustrate the method and software by analysis of radiotelemetry data for female wild turkeys. This software should have broad application in radiotelemetry studies of habitat use patterns.

1 Current address: Midwest Bio-Services, N6685 CTH M, Holmen, WI 54636 USA

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