Are there general mechanisms of animal home range behaviour? A review and prospects for future research




Home range behaviour is a common pattern of space use, having fundamental consequences for ecological processes. However, a general mechanistic explanation is still lacking. Research is split into three separate areas of inquiry – movement models based on random walks, individual-based models based on optimal foraging theory, and a statistical modelling approach – which have developed without much productive contact. Here we review recent advances in modelling home range behaviour, focusing particularly on the problem of identifying mechanisms that lead to the emergence of stable home ranges from unbounded movement paths. We discuss the issue of spatiotemporal scale, which is rarely considered in modelling studies, as well as highlighting the need to consider more closely the dynamical nature of home ranges. Recent methodological and theoretical advances may soon lead to a unified approach, however, conceptually unifying our understanding of linkages among home range behaviour and ecological or evolutionary processes.