Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

A general discrete-time modeling framework for animal movement using multistate random walks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

DOI

Open Access permissions

Open

Abstract

Recent developments in animal tracking technology have permitted the collection of detailed data on the movement paths of individuals from many species. However, analysis methods for these data have not developed at a similar pace, largely due to a lack of suitable candidate models, coupled with the technical difficulties of fitting such models to data. To facilitate a general modeling framework, we propose that complex movement paths can be conceived as a series of movement strategies among which animals transition as they are affected by changes in their internal and external environment. We synthesize previously existing and novel methodologies to develop a general suite of mechanistic models based on biased and correlated random walks that allow different behavioral states for directed (e.g., migration), exploratory (e.g., dispersal), area-restricted (e.g., foraging), and other types of movement. Using this “tool-box” of nested model components, multi-state movement models may be custom-built for a wide variety of species and applications. As a unified state-space modeling framework, it allows the simultaneous investigation of numerous hypotheses about animal movement from imperfectly observed data, including time allocations to different movement behavior states, transitions between states, the use of memory or navigation, and strengths of attraction (or repulsion) to specific locations. The inclusion of covariate information permits further investigation of specific hypotheses related to factors driving different types of movement behavior. Using reversible jump Markov chain Monte Carlo methods to facilitate Bayesian model selection and multi-model inference, we apply the proposed methodology to real data by adapting it to the natural history of the grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) in the North Sea. Although previous grey seal studies tended to focus on correlated movements, we found overwhelming evidence that bias towards haul-out or foraging locations better explained seal movement than simple or correlated random walks. Posterior model probabilities also provided evidence that seals transition among directed, area-restricted, and exploratory movements associated with haul-out, foraging, and other behaviors. With this intuitive framework for modeling and interpreting animal movement, we believe the development and application of bespoke movement models will become more accessible to ecologists and non-statisticians.
Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-349
Number of pages15
JournalEcological Monographs
Volume82
Issue number3
Early online date5 Apr 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012

    Research areas

  • Animal location data, Biased correlated random walk, Movement model, State-space model, Switching behavior, Telemetry

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Harbour Seal Decline – vital rates and drivers: Report to Scottish Government HSD2.

    Arso Civil, M., Langley, I., Law, A., Hague, E., Jacobson, E. K., Thomas, L., Smout, S. C., Hewitt, R., Duck, C. D., Morris, C., Brownlow, A., Davison, N., Doeschate, M., McConnell, B. J. & Hall, A. J., 2020, Sea Mammal Research Unit. 46 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  2. Toxins from harmful algae in fish from Scottish coastal waters

    Kershaw, J. L., Jensen, S-K., McConnell, B., Fraser, S., Cummings, C., Lacaze, J-P., Hermann, G., Bresnan, E., Dean, K. J., Turner, A. D., Davidson, K. & Hall, A. J., 19 Jul 2021, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Harmful Algae. 105, 11 p., 102068.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Calibrating models of cancer invasion: parameter estimation using approximate Bayesian computation and gradient matching

    Xiao, Y., Thomas, L. & Chaplain, M. A. J., 16 Jun 2021, In: Royal Society Open Science. 8, 6, 17 p., 202237.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. A comparison of three methods for estimating call densities of migrating bowhead whales using passive acoustic monitoring

    Oedekoven, C. S., Marques, T. A., Harris, D., Thomas, L., Thode, A. M., Blackwell, S. B., Conrad, A. S. & Kim, K. H., 15 Jun 2021, In: Environmental and Ecological Statistics. 25 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  5. A guide to state–space modeling of ecological time series

    Auger-Méthé, M., Newman, K., Cole, D., Empacher, F., Gryba, R., King, A. A., Leos-Barajas, V., Mills Flemming, J., Nielsen, A., Petris, G. & Thomas, L., 14 Jun 2021, (Accepted/In press) In: Ecological Monographs.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Related by journal

  1. Ecological Monographs (Journal)

    Stephen Terrence Buckland (Member of editorial board)

    20042007

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. A guide to state–space modeling of ecological time series

    Auger-Méthé, M., Newman, K., Cole, D., Empacher, F., Gryba, R., King, A. A., Leos-Barajas, V., Mills Flemming, J., Nielsen, A., Petris, G. & Thomas, L., 14 Jun 2021, (Accepted/In press) In: Ecological Monographs.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

  2. Bayesian state-space modeling of metapopulation dynamics in the Glanville fritillary butterfly

    Harrison, P. J., Hanski, I. & Ovaskainen, O., Nov 2011, In: Ecological Monographs. 81, 4, p. 581-598 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Accessibility, habitat preference and conspecific competition limit the global distribution of black-browed breeding albatrosses

    Wakefield, E., Philips, R., Trathan, PN., Arata, J., Gales, R., Nichunin, N., Robertson, G., Waugh, S., Weimerskirch, H. & Matthiopoulos, J., 2011, In: Ecological Monographs. 81, p. 141-167

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Wind field and sex constrain the flight speeds of central-place foraging albatrosses

    Wakefield, E. D., Phillips, R. A., Matthiopoulos, J., Fukuda, A., Higutchi, H., Marshall, G. J. & Trathan, P. N., Nov 2009, In: Ecological Monographs. 79, 4, p. 663-679 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 5051569

Top