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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Wednesday, November 4 • 8:20am - 8:40am
GPS Telemetry Collar Performance and Effects on Elk Habitat Use in the Rugged Mountains of Southwest Virginia

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James Vance, The University of Virginia's College at Wise

Telemetry collars using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology have been widely employed in wildlife space and resource use studies, yet the habitat-induced fix-rate bias and positional errors are a serious concern. To facilitate a study of the spatial ecology of relocated elk into Virginia, we investigated the bias and precision of the Advanced Telemetry Systems (ATS) Iridium/GPS location collars placed on the elk. We deployed collars at twenty fixed sites varying by habitat and terrain conditions in the rugged mountains of southwest Virginia. We used a multiple linear regression model and predicted that variability in fixes would decrease as elevation increased and increase as slope increased. We also predicted that variability in fixes would increase while the fix rate would decrease when collars were under deciduous and coniferous cover types as opposed to open or brushy areas. We found that aspect, percent canopy cover, and height from ground to top of collar did not significantly affect the variability in fixes. Additionally, slope did not affect the fix rate. Finally, we conducted a Monte Carlo simulation to determine the effects of locational errors on elk presence in 7 habitat types taken from Landsat Imagery by adding random errors to the coordinate fixes. The overall average percent change in the number of fixes in each habitat type for all 30 realizations was 8.96% indicating that the uncertainty in locational fixes should be acknowledged and accounted for in future spatial ecology studies.

Wednesday November 4, 2015 8:20am - 8:40am EST
Ballroom Salon A

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