Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Pennsylvania
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Walter, W.D., D.P. Onorato, and J.W. Fischer. 2015. Is there a single best estimator? Selection of home range estimators using area- under- the-curve. Movement Ecology


1. Global positioning system technology for monitoring home range and movements of wildlife has resulted in datasets that are too numerous for traditional estimators of home range. 2. We used area-under-the-curve to explore the fit of 8 estimators of home range to data collected with global positioning system technology and concurrent very high frequency technology on a terrestrial mammal, the Florida panther Felis concolor coryi. 3. area-under-the-curve differed among several estimators with the highest area-under-the-curve scores occurring for Florida panthers equipped with global positioning systems technology. 4. For our study mammal, models identified number of locations, global positioning system schedule, and characteristics of study area influenced area-under-the-curve scores. 5. Synthesis and applications. Comparisons of fit of home range contours with locations collected would suggest that use of very high frequency technology should no longer be considered to estimate size of home range. Estimators of home range collected with global positioning system technology performed better than those estimated with very high frequency technology regardless of estimator used. Further, estimators that incorporate a temporal component (third-generation estimators) appeared to be the most reliable regardless of whether kernel-based or Brownian bridge-based algorithms and in comparison to first- and second-generation estimators. Third-generation estimators of home range should be defined as any estimator that incorporates time, space, animal-specific parameters, and habitat such as movement-based kernel density, Brownian bridge movement models and dynamic Brownian bridge movement models among others that have yet to be evaluated.