Kranstauber, Bart

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Long-term movements and home-range changes : Rapid territory shifts in meerkats

2020, Kranstauber, Bart, Gall, Gabriella, Vink, Tim, Clutton-Brock, Tim, Manser, Marta B.

1. Territoriality and stable home ranges are a common space-use pattern among animals. These ranges provide its inhabitants with important resources and thus favourable territories are associated with an increased fitness. While the role of territory quality and changes of territory ownership have often been investigated, the changes of territorial boundaries have been less studied.
2. Here, we investigated space-use changes in a social mammal species, applying a novel analytical approach, calculating long-term dissimilarity in space use using distancematrices based on periodic utilization distributions. This approach makes it possible to identify different space-use patterns, which cannot be distinguished by only considering changes between consecutive time periods.
3. We analysed meerkat (Suricata suricatta) movements of a total of 24 different groups over a 16-year period, resulting in 134 group years. We then correlated the identified home-range changes to life-history events and possible environmental drivers.
4. Groups had stable territories for several years before they abandoned their home range mostly to move quickly to new areas where they again remained for several years. Of 26 identified sudden shifts, 22 occurred in the summer months and often involved distances larger than the original home-range size. Home-range movements that were close together in time were often also spatially clustered and moved in a similar direction. These shifts were often preceded by more frequent interactions between groups, but did not seem to be a product of direct displacements by other groups. The normalized difference vegetation index as a measure of food production and social factors such as dominance changes did not correlate to changes.
5. Against our expectation space-use changes were not accumulations of small changes, but more often involved long-distance moves into unknown ranges. This means that the groups enter areas where they cannot profit from local knowledge. The methods used identify episodes of long stability alternated by sudden changes in meerkats and in general provides insight into long-term space use. Our methods can be used to analyse long-term space use, either within or across species.

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Individual-based measurements of light intensity provide new insights into the effects of artificial light at night on daily rhythms of urban-dwelling songbirds

2014, Dominoni, Davide, Caramona-Wagner, Esther O., Hofmann, Michaela, Kranstauber, Bart, Partecke, Jesko

1. The growing interest in the effects of light pollution on daily and seasonal cycles of animals has led to a boost of research in recent years. In birds, it has been hypothesized that artificial light at night can affect daily aspects of behaviour, but one caveat is the lack of knowledge about the light intensity that wild animals, such as birds, are exposed to during the night.
2. Organisms have naturally evolved daily rhythms to adapt to the 24-h cycle of day and night, thus, it is important to investigate the potential shifts in daily cycles due to global anthropogenic processes such as urbanization.
3. We captured adult male European blackbirds (Turdus merula) in one rural forest and two urban sites differing in the degree of anthropogenic disturbance. We tagged these birds with light loggers and simultaneously recorded changes in activity status (active/non-active) through an automated telemetry system. We first analysed the relationship between light at night, weather conditions and date with daily activity onset and end. We then compared activity, light at night exposure and noise levels between weekdays and weekends.
4. Onset of daily activity was significantly advanced in both urban sites compared to the rural population, while end of daily activity did not vary either among sites. Birds exposed to higher amounts of light in the late night showed earlier onset of activity in the morning, but light at night did not influence end of daily activity. Light exposure at night and onset/end of daily activity timing was not different between weekdays and weekends, but all noise variables were. A strong seasonal effect was detected in both urban and rural populations, such as birds tended to be active earlier in the morning and later in the evening (relative to civil twilight) in the early breeding season than at later stages.
5. Our results point at artificial light at night as a major driver of change in timing of daily activity. Future research should focus on the costs and benefits of altered daily rhythmicity in birds thriving in urban areas.

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Low metabolism in a tropical bat from lowland Panama measured using heart rate telemetry : an unexpected life in the slow lane

2011-11-01, Dechmann, Dina K. N., Ehret, Severin, Gaub, Aline, Kranstauber, Bart, Wikelski, Martin

Animals must optimize their daily energy budgets, particularly if energy expenditures are as high as they are in flying animals. However, energy budgets of free-ranging tropical animals are poorly known. Newly miniaturized heart rate transmitters allowed to address this in the small, energetically limited, Neotropical bat Molossus molossus. High-resolution 48-hour energy budgets showed that this species significantly lowers its metabolism on a daily basis, even though ambient temperatures remain high. Mean roosting heart rate was 144 beats/min-1, much lower than expected for a 10g bat. Low roosting heart rates combined with short nightly foraging times (37 min night–1) resulted in an estimated energy consumption of 4.08 kJ/day-1, less than 1/4 of the predicted field metabolic rate. Our results indicate that future research may reveal this as a more common pattern than currently assumed in tropical animals, which may have implications in the context of the effect of even small temperature changes on tropical species.

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Analysis and mapping of animal movement in R

2019, Safi, Kamran, Kranstauber, Bart

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Density estimation using camera trap surveys : the random encounter model

2014, Rowcliffe, J. Marcus, Carbone, Chris, Kays, Roland, Kranstauber, Bart, Jansen, Patrick A.

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Here today, gone tomorrow : saving migratory animals

2011, Kays, Roland, Blake, Stephen, Cruz, Sebastian, Fiedler, Wolfgang, Kranstauber, Bart, Proanio, Carolina, Weinzierl, Rolf, Wikelski, Martin

Extinct might be a word you associate with animals that lived long ago, like the dinosaurs, but did you know that over 18,000 species are classified as "threatened" (susceptible to extinction) today? Scientists involved in wildlife conservation have a tough job; they're in charge of determining what needs to be done to prevent a species from becoming extinct. Habitat, food supply, and impacts of local human populations are just a few of the factors these scientists take into account. It's a lot to keep track of for a single location, but the job becomes even harder when it's a migratory animal. In this science project, you'll get a firsthand look at their job. You'll access real data about migratory birds and use satellite images to analyze their habitats, then come up with a conservation plan to protect the species from extinction.

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Similarity in spatial utilization distributions measured by the earth mover's distance

2017, Kranstauber, Bart, Smolla, Marco, Safi, Kamran

Estimating the similarity in space use (spatio-temporal home range overlap) of animals is important for many questions regarding behavioural ecology, wildlife management and conservation. The current methods that calculate joint space use generally do not account for proximity in space use, as all of them rely on the differences between the exact spatial overlay of utilization distributions, while spatial distances between distributions should be considered to truly quantify similarity. We implemented the earth mover's distance (EMD), a spatially explicit method, that quantifies similarity between utilization distributions by calculating the effort it takes to shape one utilization distribution landscape into another, hence EMD. The EMD is a method commonly used in image retrieval applications, and we propose its use to calculate similarity in space use in the framework of movement ecology. We show that the EMD is a consistent and useful as well as versatile measure of overlap and provide an easy to use implementation in the r package move.

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A dynamic Brownian bridge movement model to estimate utilization distributions for heterogeneous animal movement

2012-07, Kranstauber, Bart, Kays, Roland, LaPoint, Scott, Wikelski, Martin, Safi, Kamran

1. The recently developed Brownian bridge movement model (BBMM) has advantages over traditional methods because it quantifies the utilization distribution of an animal based on its movement path rather than individual points and accounts for temporal autocorrelation and high data volumes. However, the BBMM assumes unrealistic homogeneous movement behaviour across all data.

2. Accurate quantification of the utilization distribution is important for identifying the way animals use the landscape.

3. We improve the BBMM by allowing for changes in behaviour, using likelihood statistics to determine change points along the animal's movement path.

4. This novel extension, outperforms the current BBMM as indicated by simulations and examples of a territorial mammal and a migratory bird. The unique ability of our model to work with tracks that are not sampled regularly is especially important for GPS tags that have frequent failed fixes or dynamic sampling schedules. Moreover, our model extension provides a useful one-dimensional measure of behavioural change along animal tracks.

5. This new method provides a more accurate utilization distribution that better describes the space use of realistic, behaviourally heterogeneous tracks.