Moving in the Anthropocene : Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements
2018-01-26, Tucker, Marlee A., Böhning-Gaese, Katrin, Blake, Stephen, Davidson, Sarah C., Fiedler, Wolfgang, Kranstauber, Bart, LaPoint, Scott, Safi, Kamran, Wikelski, Martin, Mueller, Thomas
Animal movement is fundamental for ecosystem functioning and species survival, yet the effects of the anthropogenic footprint on animal movements have not been estimated across species. Using a unique GPS-tracking database of 803 individuals across 57 species, we found that movements of mammals in areas with a comparatively high human footprint were on average one-half to one-third the extent of their movements in areas with a low human footprint. We attribute this reduction to behavioral changes of individual animals and to the exclusion of species with long-range movements from areas with higher human impact. Global loss of vagility alters a key ecological trait of animals that affects not only population persistence but also ecosystem processes such as predator-prey interactions, nutrient cycling, and disease transmission.
True navigation in migrating gulls requires intact olfactory nerves
2015-11-24, Wikelski, Martin, Arriero, Elena, Gagliardo, Anna, Holland, Richard A., Huttunen, Markku J., Juvaste, Risto, Mueller, Inge, Tertitski, Grigori, Thorup, Kasper, Wild, Martin, Alanko, Markku, Bairlein, Franz, Cherenkov, Alexander, Cameron, Alison, Flatz, Reinhard, Hannila, Juhani, Hüppop, Ommo, Kangasniemi, Markku, Kranstauber, Bart, Penttinen, Maija-Liisa, Safi, Kamran, Semashko, Vladimir, Schmid, Heidi, Wistbacka, Ralf
During migratory journeys, birds may become displaced from their normal migratory route. Experimental evidence has shown that adult birds can correct for such displacements and return to their goal. However, the nature of the cues used by migratory birds to perform long distance navigation is still debated. In this experiment we subjected adult lesser black-backed gulls migrating from their Finnish/Russian breeding grounds (from >60°N) to Africa (to < 5°N) to sensory manipulation, to determine the sensory systems required for navigation. We translocated birds westward (1080 km) or eastward (885 km) to simulate natural navigational challenges. When translocated westwards and outside their migratory corridor birds with olfactory nerve section kept a clear directional preference (southerly) but were unable to compensate for the displacement, while intact birds and gulls with the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve sectioned oriented towards their population-specific migratory corridor. Thus, air-borne olfactory information seems to be important for migrating gulls to navigate successfully in some circumstances.
Flying with the wind : scale dependency of speed and direction measurements in modelling wind support in avian flight
2013, Safi, Kamran, Kranstauber, Bart, Cabot, David, Cruz, Sebastian, Proaño, Carolina, Waldenström, Jonas, Bengtsson, Daniel, Kays, Roland, Wikelski, Martin, Bohrer, Gil
Understanding how environmental conditions, especially wind, influence birds' flight speeds is a prerequisite for understanding many important aspects of bird flight, including optimal migration strategies, navigation, and compensation for wind drift. Recent developments in tracking technology and the increased availability of data on large-scale weather patterns have made it possible to use path annotation to link the location of animals to environmental conditions such as wind speed and direction. However, there are various measures available for describing not only wind conditions but also the bird's flight direction and ground speed, and it is unclear which is best for determining the amount of wind support (the length of the wind vector in a bird's flight direction) and the influence of cross-winds (the length of the wind vector perpendicular to a bird's direction) throughout a bird's journey.
Integrating animal movement with habitat suitability for estimating dynamic migratory connectivity
2018, van Toor, Mariëlle L., Kranstauber, Bart, Newman, Scott H., Prosser, Diann J., Takekawa, John Y., Technitis, Georgios, Weibel, Robert, Wikelski, Martin, Safi, Kamran
High-resolution animal movement data are becoming increasingly available, yet having a multitude of empirical trajectories alone does not allow us to easily predict animal movement. To answer ecological and evolutionary questions at a population level, quantitative estimates of a species’ potential to link patches or populations are of importance.
We introduce an approach that combines movement-informed simulated trajectories with an environment-informed estimate of the trajectories’ plausibility to derive connectivity. Using the example of bar-headed geese we estimated migratory connectivity at a landscape level throughout the annual cycle in their native range.
We used tracking data of bar-headed geese to develop a multi-state movement model and to estimate temporally explicit habitat suitability within the species’ range. We simulated migratory movements between range fragments, and calculated a measure we called route viability. The results are compared to expectations derived from published literature.
Simulated migrations matched empirical trajectories in key characteristics such as stopover duration. The viability of the simulated trajectories was similar to that of the empirical trajectories. We found that, overall, the migratory connectivity was higher within the breeding than in wintering areas, corroborating previous findings for this species.
We show how empirical tracking data and environmental information can be fused for meaningful predictions of animal movements throughout the year and even outside the spatial range of the available data. Beyond predicting migratory connectivity, our framework will prove useful for modelling ecological processes facilitated by animal movement, such as seed dispersal or disease ecology.
Global aerial flyways allow efficient travelling
2015, Kranstauber, Bart, Weinzierl, Rolf, Wikelski, Martin, Safi, Kamran
Birds migrate over vast distances at substantial costs. The highly dynamic nature of the air makes the selection of the best travel route difficult. We investigated to what extent migratory birds may optimise migratory route choice with respect to wind, and if route choice can be subject to natural selection. Following the optimal route, calculated using 21 years of empirical global wind data, reduced median travel time by 26.5% compared to the spatially shortest route. When we used a time-dependent survival model to quantify the adaptive benefit of choosing a fixed wind-optimised route, 84.8% of pairs of locations yielded a route with a higher survival than the shortest route. This suggests that birds, even if incapable of predicting wind individually, could adjust their migratory routes at a population level. As a consequence, this may result in the emergence of low-cost flyways representing a global network of aerial migratory pathways.
How Displaced Migratory Birds Could Use Volatile Atmospheric Compounds to Find Their Migratory Corridor : A Test Using a Particle Dispersion Model
2016, Safi, Kamran, Gagliardo, Anna, Wikelski, Martin, Kranstauber, Bart
Olfaction represents an important sensory modality for navigation of both homing pigeons and wild birds. Experimental evidence in homing pigeons showed that airborne volatile compounds carried by the winds at the home area are learned in association with wind directions. When displaced, pigeons obtain information on the direction of their displacement using local odors at the release site. Recently, the role of olfactory cues in navigation has been reported also for wild birds during migration. However, the question whether wild birds develop an olfactory navigational map similar to that described in homing pigeons or, alternatively, exploit the distribution of volatile compounds in different manner for reaching the goal is still an open question. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we evaluate the possibilities of reconstructing spatio-temporally explicit aerosol dispersion at large spatial scales using the particle dispersion model FLEXPART. By combining atmospheric information with particle dispersion models, atmospheric scientists predict the dispersion of pollutants for example, after nuclear fallouts or volcanic eruptions or wildfires, or in retrospect reconstruct the origin of emissions such as aerosols. Using simple assumptions, we reconstructed the putative origin of aerosols traveling to the location of migrating birds. We use the model to test whether the putative odor plume could have originated from an important stopover site. If the migrating birds knew this site and the associated plume from previous journeys, the odor could contribute to the reorientation towards the migratory corridor, as suggested for the model scenario in displaced Lesser black-backed gulls migrating from Northern Europe into Africa.
Bivariate Gaussian bridges : directional factorization of diffusion in Brownian bridge models
2014, Kranstauber, Bart, Safi, Kamran, Bartumeus, Frederic
In recent years high resolution animal tracking data has become the standard in movement ecology. The Brownian Bridge Movement Model (BBMM) is a widely adopted approach to describe animal space use from such high resolution tracks. One of the underlying assumptions of the BBMM is isotropic diffusive motion between consecutive locations, i.e. invariant with respect to the direction. Here we propose to relax this often unrealistic assumption by separating the Brownian motion variance into two directional components, one parallel and one orthogonal to the direction of the motion.
Our new model, the Bivariate Gaussian bridge (BGB), tracks movement heterogeneity across time. Using the BGB and identifying directed and non-directed movement within a trajectory resulted in more accurate utilisation distributions compared to dynamic Brownian bridges, especially for trajectories with a non-isotropic diffusion, such as directed movement or Lévy like movements. We evaluated our model with simulated trajectories and observed tracks, demonstrating that the improvement of our model scales with the directional correlation of a correlated random walk.
We find that many of the animal trajectories do not adhere to the assumptions of the BBMM. The proposed model improves accuracy when describing the space use both in simulated correlated random walks as well as observed animal tracks. Our novel approach is implemented and available within the “move” package for R.