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Ecology. 2007 Sep;88(9):2354-63.

Analyzing animal movements using Brownian bridges.

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1
University of Idaho, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Moscow, Idaho 83844, USA. jhorne@uidaho.edu

Abstract

By studying animal movements, researchers can gain insight into many of the ecological characteristics and processes important for understanding population-level dynamics. We developed a Brownian bridge movement model (BBMM) for estimating the expected movement path of an animal, using discrete location data obtained at relatively short time intervals. The BBMM is based on the properties of a conditional random walk between successive pairs of locations, dependent on the time between locations, the distance between locations, and the Brownian motion variance that is related to the animal's mobility. We describe two critical developments that enable widespread use of the BBMM, including a derivation of the model when location data are measured with error and a maximum likelihood approach for estimating the Brownian motion variance. After the BBMM is fitted to location data, an estimate of the animal's probability of occurrence can be generated for an area during the time of observation. To illustrate potential applications, we provide three examples: estimating animal home ranges, estimating animal migration routes, and evaluating the influence of fine-scale resource selection on animal movement patterns.

PMID:
17918412
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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