Developing a habitat suitability model for the spotted turtle using a hybrid-deductive approach

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Title: Developing a habitat suitability model for the spotted turtle using a hybrid-deductive approach
Author: Correa-Berger, Bryan
Abstract: Knowledge of species with multiple habitat needs for conservation and species survival planning is scarce. In order to predict areas of habitat suitability and potential further research, suitability modeling is necessary. This research created a GIS-based model to predict habitat suitability potential for the spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) in four counties of western New York. Because of scarce and conflicting information on spotted turtle habitat needs, a survey was sent out to experts that evaluated spotted turtle habitat parameters. The goal of the habitat model was to predict optimal habitat for sustainable spotted turtle populations in an area where viable populations had not been confirmed. The surveys were designed to assign relative values to various habitat parameters and derive qualitative and quantitative information for future field assessment measures. The survey and data collection were based on the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). The method ultimately used for habitat selection was a Hybrid-Deductive approach because of the inductive and deductive reasoning used with scarce and conflicting information on spotted turtle habitat preference. The GIS model selected sites based on an iterative process, resulting in four sites being selected as the “best” habitat sites, combining survey, literature, and GIS data. Model results were compared to historic state sighting records from the NY DEC and fit reasonably well in two of the four counties, but the model did not account for populations that seem to prefer atypical habitats, such as ditches. The model also discarded potentially viable sites (based on land cover) minimally impacted by roads. Results also suggest the need for more detailed soil, road, and land cover data to help determine connectivity between potential habitat sites.
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/4494
Date: 2007-05

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