Helena Rio Maior, CIBIO-InBIO/UP | February 15, 2019 - 15h30 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Large carnivores often inhabit disturbed landscapes, where avoidance of human-related risks can constrain access to key habitats and prey. The ‘Landscape of Coexistence’ is a recent framework designed to identify areas that can sustain large predators in human-dominated landscapes, by considering suitable habitats for breeding and dispersal in large carnivores inhabiting areas intensively used by humans. However, limited consideration is generally given to differential behaviours of residents and dispersing individuals, which is essential to simultaneously estimate the core breeding areas and functional connectivity among such areas. We investigated these issues by modelling wolf habitat selection and functional connectivity across highly humanized landscapes of north-western Portugal, based on GPS movement data from 15 Iberian wolves collected over 10 years. Results showed that resident wolf population is largely restricted to mountainous areas less used by people, while there was strong resistance to movements in more humanized areas. Higher tolerance of dispersers to humans facilitate their movements across the landscape, though they face the additional constraint of avoiding areas occupied by resident wolves. Our spatially-explicit results will be discussed in terms of conservation planning, as they allow identification of areas where further human developments would be most damaging for wolves, including corridors where infrastructures should be avoided to increase functional connectivity across the landscape.


Helena Rio Maior holds a graduation in Biology from Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon and a MSc in Science and Geographic Information Systems from Information Management School of Nova University. She is currently enrolled in the last year of BIODIV PhD programme, working under the supervision of Francisco Álvares (CIBIO-InBIO, CONGEN) and Pedro Beja (CIBIO-InBIO, APPLECOL), with a thesis project entitled ‘Behavioural and ecological determinants of large carnivore persistence in highly humanized landscapes: the case of wolves in northwest Iberia’.



[Host: Francisco Álvares, Conservation Genetics and Wildlife Management]



Image credits: CIBIO-InBIO