Cherry, Michael J.

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Michael J.
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    Data from: Influence of visual perception on movement decisions by an ungulate prey species
    (2023-10-16) Newman, Blaise A.; Dyal, Jordan R.; Miller, Karl V.; Cherry, Michael J.; D'Angelo, Gino J.
    Visual perception is dynamic and depends on physiological properties of a species’ visual system and physical characteristics of the environment. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are most sensitive to short- and mid-wavelength light (e.g. blue and green). Wavelength enrichment varies spatially and temporally across the landscape. We assessed how the visual perception of deer influences their movement decisions. From August to September 2019, we recorded 10-min locations from 15 GPS-collared adult male deer in Central Florida. We used Hidden-Markov models to identify periods of movement by deer and subset these data into three time periods based on temporal changes in light environments. We modeled resource selection during movement using path-selection functions and simulated 10 available paths for every path used. We developed five a priori models and used 10-fold cross validation to assess our top model's performance for each time period. During the day, deer selected to move through woodland shade, avoided forest shade, and neither selected nor avoided small gaps. At twilight, deer avoided wetlands as cloud cover increased but neither selected nor avoided other cover types. Visual cues and signals are likely more conspicuous to deer in short-wavelength-enriched woodland shade during the day, while at twilight in long-wavelength-enriched wetlands during cloud cover, visual cues are likely less conspicuous. The nocturnal light environment did not influence resource selection and likely has little effect on deer movements because it's relatively homogenous. Our findings suggest visual perception relative to light environments is likely an underappreciated driver of behaviors and decision-making by an ungulate prey species.