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Home range and habitat selection of the endangered Lear's Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari): perspectives from movement ecology

Grant number: 21/14510-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Applied Ecology
Principal researcher:Francisco Voeroes Dénes
Grantee:Fernanda Riera Paschotto
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/19389-9 - Applying new bio-logging and analytical tools to study the movement ecology and conservation of birds in the caatinga biome, Brazil, AP.JP


The understanding of resource use is a central goal in animal ecology. By exploring the available resources, animal home ranges emerge because of the individuals' movement patterns and space use, and the knowledge of this important structural property of animal communities is fundamental not only to understand animals' distribution, but also their dispersion, space-use patterns, and ecological needs. Using new bio-logging technology, researchers can now answer detailed questions about behavior and ecology of wild animals that would have previously been very challenging or unachievable. This is the case of the globally endangered Lear's Macaw (Anodorhynchus leari), a large frugivore endemic to the Caatinga dry-forest. Using GPS and tri-axial accelerometry data from macaws fitted with bio-loggers, we will investigate important knowledge gaps on the species' ecology, such as movement patterns and habitat selection in home range settlement, and analyze individual and seasonal variations. We will estimate individuals home ranges using autocorrelated kernel density estimators. By combining information on macaws' behavior and location, we aim to identify roosting and feeding sites, and overlay their locations onto remote sensing layers to characterize the environments visited by the individuals. Lastly, we will use models of resource selection to describe differential use of resource and space, and to identify important habitats features. The results of our analyses, based on tracking of wild Lear's Macaws in unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions, will increase our understanding of the ecology, and support much needed conservation actions and planning, for this endangered large avian frugivore.

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