Building the bridge between animal movement and population dynamics


Morales JM, Moorcroft PR, Matthiopoulos J, Frair JL, Kie JG, Powell RA, Merrill EH, Haydon DT. Building the bridge between animal movement and population dynamics. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. 2010;365 :2289-2301.

Date Published:

Jul 27


While the mechanistic links between animal movement and population dynamics are ecologically obvious, it is much less clear when knowledge of animal movement is a prerequisite for understanding and predicting population dynamics. GPS and other technologies enable detailed tracking of animal location concurrently with acquisition of landscape data and information on individual physiology. These tools can be used to refine our understanding of the mechanistic links between behaviour and individual condition through 'spatially informed' movement models where time allocation to different behaviours affects individual survival and reproduction. For some species, socially informed models that address the movements and average fitness of differently sized groups and how they are affected by fission-fusion processes at relevant temporal scales are required. Furthermore, as most animals revisit some places and avoid others based on their previous experiences, we foresee the incorporation of long-term memory and intention in movement models. The way animals move has important consequences for the degree of mixing that we expect to find both within a population and between individuals of different species. The mixing rate dictates the level of detail required by models to capture the influence of heterogeneity and the dynamics of intra-and interspecific interaction.


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