Selection for Forage and Avoidance of Risk by Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) at Coarse and Local Scales

Madeleine McGreer
Erin Mallon
Lucas Vander Vennen
Philip Wiebe
James Baker
Glen Brown
Tal Avgar
Jevon Hagens
Andrew Kittle
Anna Mosser
Garrett Street
Doug Reid
Arthur Rodgers
Jennifer Shuter
Ian Thompson
Merritt Turetsky
Steven Newmaster
Brent Patterson
John Fryxell
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The relationship between selection at coarse and fine spatiotemporal spatial scales is still poorly understood. Some authors claim that, to accommodate different needs at different scales, individuals should have contrasting selection patterns at different scales of selection, while others claim that coarse scale selection patterns should reflect fine scale selection decisions. Here we examine site selection by 110 woodland caribou equipped with GPS radio-collars with respect to forage availability and predation risk across a broad gradient in availability of both variables in boreal forests of Northern Ontario. We tested whether caribou selection for forage and avoidance of risk was consistent between coarse (seasonal home range) and fine scales of selection. We found that local selection patterns predicted coarse scale selection patterns, indicating a close relationship between the drivers of selection at both spatial scales.