The behavioural ecology of animal movement: reflections upon potential synergies

Miriam Liedvogel 1 , Ben B. Chapman 1 , Rachel Muheim 1  and Susanne Åkesson 1
  • 1 CAnMove Centre, Department of Biology, Lund University, Sölvegatan 37, 223 62 Lund, Sweden


Animal movement acts at multiple scales: it can shape the destiny of individuals and populations, govern community and ecosystem structure, and influence evolutionary processes and patterns of biodiversity. Recent technological advances, such as the revolutionary developments in tracking technology and remote sensing, provide fresh insights and the possibility to collect detailed data on where and how animals travel through space, how they react to and/or interact with their environment and conspecifics as well as their predators and prey. Scientists from various disciplines ranging from physics to psychology develop and apply ever improving analytical techniques to observe, assess and archive animal movement across scales. As in any other field, standardising data collection is a key prerequisite in order to combine and extend dataset collections, many of which may further be utilized by behavioural ecologists to answer questions on the function and significance of animal movements. Large-scale manipulative experimental approaches have also shed new light on old questions in animal movement, and opened new and previously inaccessible perspectives to study animal movement in the context of behavioural ecology. Animal movements are intrinsic to all behavioural processes, and analysis of movement phenomena within the framework of behavioural ecology has provided rich insights into the mechanisms and functions of animal behavior for some decades. We convened an international symposium to reflect on the behavioural ecology of animal movement, asking how these two related disciplines can produce new insights and synergies. Our symposium provided a platform that brought together a diverse range of researchers working on animal movement on different taxa and a range of spatial scales to discuss how behavioural ecology can integrate with the nascent discipline of movement ecology. In this short paper we summarise the key points from this meeting, and call for a renewed focus on the behavioural processes involved in the movements of animals.

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Animal Migration publishes cutting-edge research on the biology of migratory species. It covers all aspects of migratory biology, from genetics and physiology to ecosystem-level interactions between migrants and their environment and everything in between. Migration is a world-wide phenomenon, hence authors from all over the globe are encouraged to submit articles to this OA journal.