Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Barry Boots

Advisor Role

Dissertation Supervisor


Studying the movements of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in Alberta is imperative for scientifically informed management practices. To properly balance industry requirements with conservation imperatives, it is necessary to understand the spatial and spatial-temporal movement patterns of grizzly bears as they relate to underlying landscape properties. As part of the Foothills Research Institute Grizzly Bear Research Program, this dissertation explored both fine and largescale movement patterns generated from global positioning system (GPS) radiotelemetry data.

Between 1999 and 2005, grizzly bears were captured and radio-collared across western Alberta. The temporal resolution of GPS data collection had a large impact on the amount of information available for analysis. A significant decrease in available information was demonstrated as time between locations increased. The presence of serial autocorrelation indicated the presence of prolonged movement behavior in fine-scale vector structures. The ability to identify internal vector clusters dramatically decreased as temporal resolution decreased.

The relationship between level of human activity and grizzly bear movement rate across multiple spatial and temporal scales was studied in detail. Resulting movement patterns of grizzly bears were found to be intrinsically linked to both internal and external factors. Overall, grizzly bears residing in mountain environments were found to have significantly slower movement rates and smaller home ranges sizes when compared to grizzly bears residing in foothills environments. Temporally, movement rates also varied significantly according to season, month, and time of day. These findings have significance for modeling efforts which attempt to replicate grizzly bear spatial and temporal movement patterns across Albertan landscapes.

The use of time sequence graphs aided in differentiating between different types of movement behaviors and allowed for the quantification and assessment of consecutive vector data. Results emphasized that slow movement clusters occurred more often and for longer periods of time when compared to fast travel segments. While some movement-habitat relationships were identified, results were highly individual by bear. Overall models tended to respond the best when working with mountain bears over foothills bears. Results further suggested that vector-based movements should be separated according to type (slow versus fast) for future modeling efforts.

Convocation Year