Research Summary: Should I Stay or Should I Go? A Habitat-Dependent Dispersal Kernel Improves Prediction of Movement


The analysis of animal movement within different landscapes may increase our understanding of how landscape features affect the perceptual range of animals. Perceptual range is linked to movement probability of an animal via a dispersal kernel, the latter being generally considered as spatially invariant but could be spatially affected. We hypothesize that spatial plasticity of an animal’s dispersal kernel could greatly modify its distribution in time and space. After radio tracking the movements of walking insects (Cosmopolites sordidus) in banana plantations, we considered the movements of individuals as states of a Markov chain whose transition probabilities depended on the habitat characteristics of current and target locations. Combining a likelihood procedure and pattern-oriented modelling, we tested the hypothesis that dispersal kernel depended on habitat features. Our results were consistent with the concept that animal dispersal kernel depends on habitat features. Recognizing the plasticity of animal movement probabilities will provide insight into landscape-level ecological processes.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 12-July-2011

Author(s): Vinatier F., Lescourret F., Duyck P., Martin O., Senoussi R., Tixier P.


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