An Agent-Based Model of Wildlife Migratory Patterns in Human-Disturbed Landscapes
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In recent years, human decision-making has led to significant landscape impacts in the western United States. Specifically, migratory wildlife populations have increasingly been impacted by rural urban development and energy resource development. This research presents the application of agent-based modeling to explore how such impacts influence the characteristics of migratory animal movement, focusing on mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in Western Wyoming. This study utilizes complex adaptive systems and agent-based modeling frameworks to increase understanding of migratory patterns in a changing landscape and explores thresholds of interference to migration patterns due to increased habitat degradation and fragmentation. The agent-based model utilizes GPS-collar data to examine how individual processes lead to population-level patterns of movement and adaptation. The assessment incorporates elements from both human and natural systems to explore potential future scenarios for human development in the natural landscape and incorporates adaptive behaviors, as well as animal-movement ecology, in changing landscapes.