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.

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If you plan to use your personal computer for the lab exercises below, there are some minimum software and hardware requirements described in the documentation linked below. Links to the required custom software described in this document are included below as well and should be installed in advance of the labs as described in the document. Links to each of these software programs are also provided with the corresponding labs below.

  • Computer software/hardware instructions (pdf) -- detailed description of computer hardware and software requirements for the lab projects.
  • fragstats (zip) -- zip file (5.1 mb).
  • RMLands software (zip) -- zip file (7.6 mb)
  • Firebird software (zip) -- zip file (2.7 mb)
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Project 1: Spatial Scaling Techniques

This project is designed to introduce students to some of the techniques used to scale spatial point patterns, continuous surface patterns and categorical map patterns. Studends will gain practical experience in the calculation of both first-order (Clark and Evans Index of Dispersion) and second-order (Ripley's K-distribution) analysis of point patterns, spatial autocorrelation and semi-variance analysis of continuous data, as well as lacunarity analysis of categorical map patterns.

  • Assigment (pdf) -- detailed project assignment
  • Dataset (xls) -- spreadsheet containing all project data
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Project 2: 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 (CAUTION, 1.4 gb file) containing all project data
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Project 3: Neutral Landscape Analysis (RULE)

This project is designed to introduce students to the concept of neutral landscapes. Students will gain practical experience in the use of QRULE, a software program for generating and analyzing neutral landscapes, and gain a practical understanding of how to use neutral landscapes to test hypotheses regarding landscape structure and connectivity.

  • Assignment (pdf) -- detailed project assignment
  • Dataset (zip) -- zip file (5 mb) containing all project data and QRULE software and documentation
  • Answers (pdf) -- answers to the assignment
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Project 4: Landscape Pattern Analysis (FRAGSTATS)

This project is designed to introduce students to some of the theoretical and practical aspects of landscape pattern analysis. 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.

  • Assignment (pdf) -- detailed project assignment
  • Dataset (zip) -- zip file (7.5 mg) containing all project data
  • Answers (pdf) -- answers to the assignment

Supplementary Resources:

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Project 5: Landscape Dynamic Scenarios (RMLands)

This project is designed to introduce students to the concept of dynamic landscapes. Students will gain a practical understanding of how to model alternative landscape dynamic scenarios using RMLands, a software program for simulating disturbance and succession processes in Rocky Mountain landscapes, and become familiar with the various equilibrium and nonequilibrium concepts of landscape dynamics.

  • Assignment (pdf) -- detailed project assignment
  • Large dataset (zip) -- zip file (CAUTION 2.1 gb) containing all project data
  • Small dataset (zip) -- zip file (CAUTION 1.5 gb) containing minimum project data (i.e. excludes output grids)
  • new R scripts (zip)
  • new Fragstats output files (zip)
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Project 6: 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.

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

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

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