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Showing posts from December, 2016

The Biophysical Framework’s Potential for Behavioural Ecology

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Data collection of individual movement like a series of GPS fixes provides a potential for a physical – a statistical-mechanical – interpretation of animal space use. Such material represents indirect studies of behaviour in contrast to direct observation and interpretation. The GPS pattern of dots on the map provides a coarse-grained image of how the individual in overall terms relocated itself during the period of sampling. It is fascinating that this “out of focus” image may in fact not only be scrutinized with respect to verifying many similar behavioural traits as traditionally studied by ethological methods, but also allows for interpretation of specific relationships that are difficult or outright impossible to test from the classic methods in behavioural ecology. In this post I’m focusing on one of these space use properties, scale-free habitat utilization.

First, what is “scale-free movement”? Statistically, this property apparently should be easy to verify (or falsify) by…

Parallel Processing – a Simplistic Introduction

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The parallel processing concept (PP) is a core postulate of the Multiscaled random walk model. PP provides the backbone of an attempt to understand in a statistical-mechanically consistent manner why animal movement generally tend to show scale-free distribution of displacement lengths at a given frequency of GPS position sampling (Lévy walk-like movement). Contrary to standard Lévy walk theory, PP-based movement seems to offer a plausible explanation for why superlong displacements – the “long tail” part of the Lévy walk-like step length distribution – may appear even in environments with frequent direction-perturbing events. From standard theory such events should tend to “shorten the tail” by prematurely terminate long steps, and simultaneously inflate the frequency of shorter displacements. Thus, the standard Lévy model is – in my view – lacking some essential aspects of many animals’ cognitive computation of environmental conditions and the individual’s internal state. 

In my boo…