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Using Spatially Explicit Simulated Data to Analyze Animal Interactions: A Case Study with Brown Hyenas in Northern Botswana

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New developments in global positioning systems (GPS) and related satellite tracking technologies have facilitated the collection of highly accurate data on moving objects, far surpassing the ability to analyze them. Within geographic information science, ‘movement pattern analysis’ (MPA) has developed as a subfield that addresses concepts and theories used to explore the spatio‐temporal structure in data, although the methodological and analytical framework associated with MPA is new and still evolving. Interactions between individuals can be considered a second order property of movement and have been far less studied. The nature of interactions between individuals in a population is a fundamental aspect of a species' behavioral ecology and information on the frequency and duration of these interactions is vital to understanding mating and territorial behavior, resource use, and infectious disease epidemiology. The focus of this work was to explore how spatially explicit simulated data can be used to analyse dynamic interactions between individuals. Five different techniques that have been used to quantify dynamic interactions based on GPS data of pairs of individuals were utilised, and all were compared in the context of spatially explicit simulated data intended to represent biologically realistic null models for individual movement, and subsequently paired interactions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography and the Environment, The University of Texas at Austin

Publication date: June 1, 2012


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