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Habitat Selection and Sightability of Moose in Southeast Alaska

MS Thesis, University of Alaska Fairbanks. August 2007. (Cooperative ADF&G and U.S. Forest Service project). Principal Investigator: Susan A. Oehlers

We examined the role of scale and sex in habitat selection by radiocollared Alaskan moose on the Yakutat forelands, Alaska, USA. We used conditional logistic regression to quantify differences in habitats selected between sexes and seasons at 3 different spatial scales (250, 500, and 1000 m), and multi-response permutation procedure (MRPP) to test for differences in spatial distribution between the sexes. Sexes selected for habitats similarly during the mating season, when sexes generally were aggregated, whereas sexes exhibited differential habitat selection during the non-mating season when sexes were segregated. Both sexes selected habitats at the 1000 m scale; models limited to 2 variables, however, demonstrated differences in scales selected by the sexes. There was a significant difference between male and female spatial distribution during all months (MRPP; P <0.0001), and distances between individuals were higher in females than in males, particularly during spring. We also developed a sightability model for moose with logistic regression, and used Distance Sampling to develop sightability correction factors (SCFs). Application of the sightability model and Distance Sampling to a sample data set of 600 moose yielded population estimates of 652–1124 (x = 755) and 858–1062 (x = 954) moose, respectively.