Landscape Ecology (ECo 621)

Lab Projects

 
Quicklinks

The Landscape Ecology Lab includes several projects corresponding to the major sections of the course. Each of these projects are briefly described below and include links to detailed descriptions of each assignment and downloads of all required software and data.

spacer

To complete the lab exercises you will need have ArcGIS and R (and R studio) installed in advance. For ArcGIS, make sure that you have a valid licence and that it includes the Spatial Analyst extension. In addition, you will need the following R packages that are not available on the R project CRAN servers:

  • landEco.R (link) -- website link to zip file containing landEco R library
  • gridio.R (link) -- website link to zip file containing gridio R library
  • biostats.R (link) -- website link to zip file containing biostats R library

 

spacer
Project 1: Defining the Landscape

This project is designed to introduce students to some of the challenges in defining the landscape in an ecologically relevant manner given real-world practical considerations (e.g., data limitations) and management objectives. Studends will evaluate alternative landscape definitions and discuss the challenges and implications of chosing among alternative definitions..

  • Assigment (pdf) -- detailed project assignment
  • Dataset (zip) -- zip file containing all project data
spacer
Project 2: Quantifying patch mosaic (FRAGSTATS)

This project is designed to introduce students to some of the theoretical and practical aspects of quantifying patch mosaics. Students will gain practical experience in the use and interpretation of FRAGSTATS, a software program for quantifying categorical map patterns using a wide variety of landscape metrics. In addition, students will develop their own landscape metric and apply it in the analysis of real landscapes, and gain a practical understanding of some of the limitations in conducting a landscape structure analysis.

  • Background presentation (pdf) -- powerpoint presentation with background material
  • Assignment (pdf) -- detailed project assignment
  • Dataset (zip) -- zip file containing all project data
  • Lab2 R script updated

Supplementary Resources:

  • McGarigal K, S Cushman, and C Regan. 2005. Quantifying terrestrial habitat loss and fragmentation: a protocol. USDA Gen. Tech. Rep. Rocky Mountain Region.[click here for full text][click here for figures]
  • Cushman S, K McGarigal, KS McKelvey, CD Vojta, and CM Regan. 2013. Landscape Analysis for Habitat Monitoring. Chapter 6 in MM Rowland and CD Vojta (eds), A Technical Guide for Monitoring Wildlife Habitat, US Department of Agriculture
    Forest Service Gen. Tech. Report WO-89. [click here for full text]
spacer
Project 3: Quantifying point & gradient patterns (R)

This project is designed to introduce students to some of the theoretical and practical aspects of quantifying spatial point patterns and gradient patterns. Students will gain a practical understanding of how to define, digitally represent, and model spatial point patterns and gradient patterns using ArcGIS and R. The detailed application for this lab is TBD.

  • Background presentation (pdf) -- powerpoint presentation with background material
  • Assignment (pdf) -- detailed project assignment
  • Dataset (zip) -- zip file containing all project data
spacer
Project 4: Landscape connectivity

This project is designed to introduce students to some of the theoretical and practical aspects of quantifying landscape connectivity. Students will gain a practical understanding of how to use various methods for quantifying connectivity, such as least cost path analysis, circuitscape analysis and resistant kernel analysis using custom software and R. The detailed application for this lab is TBD.

  • Background presentation (pdf) -- powerpoint presentation with background material
  • Assignment (pdf) -- detailed project assignment
  • Dataset (zip) -- zip file containing all project data
spacer
Project 5: Metapopulations

This project is designed to introduce students to the concept of metapopulations in heterogeneous landscapes. Students will gain a practical understanding of how to use a spatially explicit metapopulation viability model written in R to analyze metapopulation dynamics and the effects of landscape patterns on those dynamics. Students will analyze data from a real local marbled salamander (Ambystoma oppacum) metapopulation.

  • Background Presentation (pdf) -- brief overview of the case study of the marbled salamander in western Massachusetts.
  • Assignment (pdf) -- detailed project assignment
  • Dataset (zip) -- zip file containing all project data

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Kevin McGarigal
Department of Environmental Conservation
University of Massachusetts
304 Holdsworth Natural Resources Center
Box 34210, Amherst, MA 01003
Fax: (413) 545-4358; Phone: (413) 577-0655
Email: mcgarigalk@eco.umass.edu

Copyright 2000 University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts, 01003. (413) 545-0111. This is an official page of the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus. All material in this website is made available according to the Fair Use Statute of the U.S. Copyright Act