The objective of this project is to develop a computational simulation model designed to determine how the resource-extraction industries of oil, gas and forestry influence woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus) habitat selection and use in west central Alberta. Specifically, an agent-based model will simulate caribou as individual agents that 1) are capable of making trade-off decisions to maximize their reproductive success and survival, 2) are spatially aware of their surrounding environment, and 3) can learn where to forage, while concurrently avoiding predators and habitat disturbance. To remain biologically relevant, the model will incorporate predators and habitat disturbance. To remain biologically relevant, the model will incorporate predators (wolves), competitors (moose) and the caribou environment (Alberta Rocky Mountain Range) and will be calibrated and substantiated using existing caribou abundance data. The amin goal is to investigate how various industrial activities influence caribou habitat selection and use given the already implicit association between these activities and the increase in the amount of predators, competitors and disturbed habitat. Based on these results, we will then simulate varying scenarios of land‐use development to predict caribou response to future changes in the environment. This research will provide industry a much needed and timely conservation and development planning tool to better understand the impact of their activities on the woodland caribou.
Dr. Danielle Marceau
ConocoPhillips Canada Resources Corporation
Oil and gas
University of Calgary
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