Analyzing space-time dynamics of the ecological niche: A case study with the pine marten (Martes martes) population
The potential of discriminant analysis for assessing the parameters of an ecological niche is demonstrated by a case study with the pine marten (Martes martes L., 1758) via analysis of the dependence of marten footprint presence on the relief and environmental characteristics represented by remote sensing data, as well as calculation of the probability of encountering the footprints on the territory of the Central Forest Nature Reserve and its buffer zone. Analysis performed individually for each of 11 months over a 3-year observation period demonstrated that the measure of species association with environmental conditions and the pattern of species distribution are to a considerable degree determined by weather conditions. The overall dependence on the environment becomes stronger under adverse conditions. Methods for integrating the data of monthly analyses into a general map of habitat types are demonstrated. Wide possibilities for applying the described technology to research and practical problems in population ecology are underlined.