Compositional analysis of habitat use from animal radio-tracking data.
Analysis of habitat use based on radio-tagged animals presents difficulties inadequately addressed by current methods. Areas of concern are sampling level, data pooling across individuals, non-independence of habitat proportions, differential habitat use by groups of animals, and arbitrary definition of habitat availability. We advocate proportional habitat use by individual animals as a basis for analysis. Hypothesis testing of such nonstandard multivariate data is done by compositional analysis, which encompasses all MANOVA/MANCOVA-type linear models. The applications to habitat use range from testing for age class effects or seasonal differences, to examining relationships with food abundance or home range size. We take as an example the comparison of habitat use and availability. The concepts are explained and demonstrated on two data sets, illustrating different methods of treating missing values. We compare utilized with available habitats in two stages, examining home range selection within the overall study area first, then habitat use within the home range. At each stage, assuming that use differs from random, habitats can be ranked according to relative use, and significant between-rank differences located. Compositional analysis is also suited to the analysis of time budgets or diets.