Evaluating the impacts of landscape development on carnivore activity patterns and species interactions
Understanding the impacts of human-driven disturbance on carnivore communities is an important step for prioritizing conservation decisions and managing land-use policies. Disturbances such as landscape development may influence how species structure their activity periods over the 24-hour cycle and potentially compromise the capacity for competitors to avoid costly encounters with each other. Few studies to date have investigated how landscape disturbance impacts species behaviour and interactions across time, and the potential ramifications on community-level biodiversity and structure. Employing camera-trap datasets collected across Alberta, this project will characterize the behavioural responses of carnivore species across a gradient of landscape development and disentangle the interacting effects of disturbance and landscape characteristics on species interactions. Results of this research will benefit the partner organization in providing scientific information to government and industry decision-makers for better conservation practices and land-use management.