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Coyote behavioral state data and landcover files

Citation

Chamberlain, Michael (2021), Coyote behavioral state data and landcover files, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.fqz612jsd

Abstract

In canids, resident breeders hold territories but require different resources than transient individuals (i.e., dispersers), which may result in differential use of space, land cover, and food by residents and transients. In the southeastern United States, coyote (Canis latrans) reproduction occurs during spring and is energetically demanding for residents, but transients do not reproduce and therefore can exhibit feeding behaviors with lower energetic rewards. Hence, how coyotes behave in their environment likely differs between resident and transient coyotes. We captured and monitored 36 coyotes in Georgia during 2018-2019, and used data from 11 resident breeders, 12 pre-dispersing residents (i.e., offspring of resident breeders), and 11 transients to determine space use, movements, and relationships between these behaviors and landcover characteristics. The average home range size for resident breeders and pre-dispersing offspring was 20.7 ± 2.5 km² and 50.7 ± 10.0 km², respectively. The average size of transient ranges was 241.4 ± 114.5 km². Daily distance moved was 6.3 ± 3.0 km for resident males, 5.5 ± 2.7 km for resident females, and 6.9 ± 4.2 km for transients. We estimated first-passage time values to assess the scale at which coyotes respond to their environment, and used behavioral change point analysis to determine that coyotes exhibited 3 behavioral states. We found notable differences between resident and transient coyotes in regard to how landcover characteristics influenced their behavioral states.  Resident coyotes tended to select for areas with denser vegetation while resting and foraging, but for areas with less dense vegetation and canopy cover when walking. Transient coyotes selected areas closer to roads and with lower canopy cover while resting, but for areas farther from roads when foraging and walking. Our findings suggest that behaviors of both resident and transient coyotes are influenced by varying landcover characteristics, which could have implications to prey.

Methods

Coyotes were live-captured, fitted with GPS collars, and monitored. Data have been processed using movement analyses including first passage time analysis and behavioral change point analysis.

Usage Notes

All of the data files along with landcover data we used are included. In lieu of a ReadMe file, here is a simple breakdown of the files included and they're simple to follow. The first files that begin with bcpa_"number" are the behavioral change point analysis files separated by animal ID. The next set of files all begin with full_"number", those are the full GPS movement tracks used in the analysis. Lastly, there is a series of landcover and spatial databases we used, including canopy cover data from NLCD, NDVI data, road layers, along with NLCD data relative to distances to landcover types.

Funding

Georgia Department Of Natural Resources