Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name

Systems Ecology

Department or School/College

W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Robert L. Crabtree

Commitee Members

Jon M. Graham, Erin E. Landguth


sage-grouse, hierarchical resource selection, nest occurrence, high resolution remote sensing, sagebrush cover


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Bioinformatics | Ornithology | Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Our overall objective was to create a probabilistic nesting-habitat map for the Jackson Hole sage-grouse population that would have utility as a tool for future research, conservation, and management. The models that we developed for this purpose were specified to evaluate whether sage-grouse may be selecting nesting-habitat characteristics simultaneously at various spatial scales. Our spatially-explicit landscape-scale research was implemented primarily with readily available National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) data. All nesting data was collected from 2007-2010. We tested how a broad range of grain sizes (spatial resolution) of covariate values affected the fit to logistic regression models used to estimate parameters for resource selection functions (RSFs). We analyzed habitat response signatures at three scales (extents) of analysis: (1) the nesting-patch scale, (2) the nesting-region scale, and (3) the nest-site scale. Akaike's information criterion corrected for small sample sizes (AICc) and 5-fold cross validation were used to identify the most well-supported and predictive models at each scale. The RSF models were examined separately and then combined into a weighted scale-integrated conditional RSF (SRSF) integrating habitat selection signatures across all three scales. At the nesting-patch scale we determined that sage-grouse nesting occurrence was positively associated with the size of a patch, and the average cover for the patch. At the nesting-region scale, shrub cover of a 769-m-radius grain size was positively associated with nesting-region selection. Distance to tall objects and terrain ruggedness also appeared to influence nesting-region selection at this scale. At the nest-site scale shrub cover and landscape greenness were positively associated with nest-site selection. There was also noteworthy AICc support for terrain ruggedness at the nest-site scale. The SRSF provided a single high-resolution probabilistic GIS surface that mapped out areas that represent attractive sage-grouse nesting habitat.



© Copyright 2017 Robert T. Haynam III