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Keywords:

  • Animal movement;
  • first passage time;
  • fractal analysis;
  • hierarchical Bayes;
  • Lévy flights;
  • resource selection functions;
  • spatial ecology;
  • state-space models;
  • telemetry

Abstract

Animal movement has been the focus on much theoretical and empirical work in ecology over the last 25 years. By studying the causes and consequences of individual movement, ecologists have gained greater insight into the behavior of individuals and the spatial dynamics of populations at increasingly higher levels of organization. In particular, ecologists have focused on the interaction between individuals and their environment in an effort to understand future impacts from habitat loss and climate change. Tools to examine this interaction have included: fractal analysis, first passage time, Lévy flights, multi-behavioral analysis, hidden markov models, and state-space models. Concurrent with the development of movement models has been an increase in the sophistication and availability of hierarchical bayesian models. In this review we bring these two threads together by using hierarchical structures as a framework for reviewing individual models. We synthesize emerging themes in movement ecology, and propose a new hierarchical model for animal movement that builds on these emerging themes. This model moves away from traditional random walks, and instead focuses inference on how moving animals with complex behavior interact with their landscape and make choices about its suitability.