Research brings habitat models into the future

Mar 23, 2011

Time marches on, and thanks to Michigan State University research, models of wildlife habitat now can monitor changes over time more accurately and more easily.

"Monitoring and projecting future changes are essential for sustainable management of coupled human and natural systems, including wildlife habitat," said Jianguo "Jack" Liu, Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability at MSU. "Innovative computer models are urgently needed for effective monitoring and projection."

Mao-Ning Tuanmu, doctoral student in MSU's Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, and his colleagues combine habitat modeling and , then gain the ability to use one model to monitor various changes over time. Their work, "Temporal transferability of wildlife habitat models: implications for habitat monitoring," is published online in the Journal of Biogeography.

Tuanmu focused on panda habitat in Wolong Nature Reserve in southwestern China as part of an ongoing interdisciplinary effort to understand changes in the home of the , including the effects of human activities, land use/cover changes and implementation of conservation programs.

Models of habitat that portray information such as sources of food and are important tools. The trick has been to take these detailed models and expand them to help monitor changes over time.

"We built an integrated model at one point in time and then used that same model over different time periods," Tuanmu said. "We need more models like this one with good transferability to monitor short-term and project long-term changes in species distribution and quality."

Explore further: Stanford researchers rethink 'natural' habitat for wildlife

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Most panda habitat is outside nature reserves: research

Jul 28, 2010

Though much effort and many resources have been expended to protect the endangered giant panda, research by an international team of scientists shows that much suitable panda habitat is outside the nature reserves and areas ...

To catch a panda

Dec 10, 2007

Michigan State University’s panda habitat research team has spent years collecting mountains of data aimed at understanding and saving giant pandas. Now a graduate student is working to catch crucial data that’s black, ...

Recommended for you

Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species

Apr 18, 2014

Seeds that sprout as soon as they're planted may be good news for a garden. But wild plants need to be more careful. In the wild, a plant whose seeds sprouted at the first warm spell or rainy day would risk disaster. More ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Apr 18, 2014

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...