Skip to main content

Three-dimensional kernel utilization distributions improve estimates of space use in aquatic animals

Buy Article:

$50.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Tracking data have previously been used to define animal movement patterns through two-dimensional (2D) kernel utilization distributions and separate analysis of vertical locations. Here we describe the use of three-dimensional (3D) kernel utilization distributions to estimate the volumetric space use of individuals based on tracking data and to estimate the overlap in activity space between individuals. Data from European eels (Anguilla anguilla) from Norwegian coastal waters were used to compare the information conveyed by 2D and 3D activity space estimates and the utility of this approach for aquatic species. The use of 3D kernels produced detailed representations of space use in A. anguilla that permitted examination of depth use in a geographic context. Comparison of 2D and 3D home ranges showed that 2D analyses overestimated the amount of overlap between individuals by 13%–20%, because individuals sometimes occurred in the same location but used different depths. Hence, the 3D approach provided more comprehensive representations of animal movement in three dimensions while producing a metric that can be used for testing hypotheses relating to scientific descriptions of activity space, habitat use, and movement parameters.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Marine Research, Flødevigen, 4817 His, Norway; Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biology, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway. 2: Australian Institute of Marine Sciences, PMB 3, Townsville, Queensland, 4810, Australia; School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, 4811, Australia.

Publication date: March 17, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Sample Issue
  • Reprints & Permissions
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more