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Data from: Temporal scale of habitat selection for large carnivores: Balancing energetics, risk and finding prey

Cite this dataset

Nisi, Anna et al. (2021). Data from: Temporal scale of habitat selection for large carnivores: Balancing energetics, risk and finding prey [Dataset]. Dryad.


1.    When navigating heterogeneous landscapes, large carnivores must balance trade-offs between multiple goals, including minimizing energetic expenditure, maintaining access to hunting opportunities, and avoiding potential risk from humans. The relative importance of these goals in driving carnivore movement likely changes across temporal scales, but our understanding of these dynamics remains limited. 
2.    Here we quantified how drivers of movement and habitat selection changed with temporal grain for two large carnivore species living in human-dominated landscapes, providing insights into commonalities in carnivore movement strategies across regions. 
3.    We used high-resolution GPS collar data and integrated step selection analyses to model movement and habitat selection for African lions (Panthera leo) in Laikipia, Kenya and pumas (Puma concolor) in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California across eight temporal grains, ranging from 5 minutes to 12 hours. Analyses considered landscape covariates that are related to energetics, resource acquisition, and anthropogenic risk. 
4.    For both species, topographic slope, which strongly influences energetic expenditure, drove habitat selection and movement patterns over fine temporal scales but was less important at longer temporal grains. In contrast, avoiding anthropogenic risk during the day, when risk was highest, was consistently important across grains, but the degree to which carnivores relaxed this avoidance at night was strongest for longer-term movements. Lions and pumas modified their movement behavior differently in response to anthropogenic features: lions sped up while near humans at fine temporal grains, while pumas slowed down in more developed areas at coarse temporal grains. Finally, pumas experienced a trade-off between energetically efficient movement and avoiding anthropogenic risk.
5.    Temporal grain is an important methodological consideration in habitat selection analyses, as drivers of both movement and habitat selection changed across temporal grain. Additionally, grain-dependent patterns can reflect meaningful behavioral processes, including how fitness-relevant goals influence behavior over different periods of time. In applying multi-scale analysis to fine-resolution data, we showed that two large carnivore species in very different human-dominated landscapes balanced competing energetic and safety demands in largely similar ways. These commonalities suggest general strategies of landscape use across large carnivore species.


High-resolution (5-minute) GPS data was collected for lions (Panthera leo) in Laikipia County, Kenya and pumas (Puma concolor) in the Santa Cruz Mountains, CA, USA. For both species, non-movement points were excluded and data was sub-sampled to 7 other temporal grains to make separate datasets at resolutions of 5, 15, 30 minutes and 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 hours. \Available locations were generated for each dataset. For more detail please see Nisi et al. Temporal scale of habitat selection for large carnivores: balancing energetics, risk and finding prey, Journal of Animal Ecology.

Usage notes

All covariates (slope, cover, distance to boma, housing density, step length, and directional persistence) are centered and scaled. Prior to standardization, distance to boma was log-transformed, housing density was cube-root-transformed, and step length for pumas was log-transformed. For both species, matched_case_id indicates the matched case strata, time_scale indicates the temporal grain of analysis (to be treated as separate datasets), and used indicates whether a location was used (1) or available (0). For lions, cluster_id indicates separate clusters used for GEE, while for pumas each puma was treated as a separate cluster. These datasets was processed and prepared for integrated step selection analysis. Please see Nisi et al., Temporal scale of habitat selection for large carnivores: balancing energetics, risk and finding prey, Journal of Animal Ecology for more information on how this dataset was prepared.


National Science Foundation, Award: 0963022

National Science Foundation, Award: 1255913

Butler Conservation Fund

Ewaso Lions

Living with Lions

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Peninsula Open Space Trust