Analyzing animal movements using Brownian bridges

Jon S. Horne, Edward O. Garton, Stephen M. Krone, Jesse S. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

423 Scopus citations

Abstract

By studying animal movements, researchers can gain insight into many of the ecological characteristics and processes important for understanding population-level dynamics. We developed a Brownian bridge movement model (BBMM) for estimating the expected movement path of an animal, using discrete location data obtained at relatively short time intervals. The BBMM is based on the properties of a conditional random walk between successive pairs of locations, dependent on the time between locations, the distance between locations, and the Brownian motion variance that is related to the animal's mobility. We describe two critical developments that enable widespread use of the BBMM, including a derivation of the model when location data are measured with error and a maximum likelihood approach for estimating the Brownian motion variance. After the BBMM is fitted to location data, an estimate of the animal's probability of occurrence can be generated for an area during the time of observation. To illustrate potential applications, we provide three examples: estimating animal home ranges, estimating animal migration routes, and evaluating the influence of fine-scale resource selection on animal movement patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2354-2363
Number of pages10
JournalEcology
Volume88
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007

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Keywords

  • Brownian bridge
  • Home range
  • Migration
  • Random walk
  • Resource selection
  • Road crossings
  • Stochastic process
  • Utilization distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Horne, J. S., Garton, E. O., Krone, S. M., & Lewis, J. S. (2007). Analyzing animal movements using Brownian bridges. Ecology, 88(9), 2354-2363. https://doi.org/10.1890/06-0957.1