Infoscience

Journal article

Animal dispersal modelling: handling landscape features and related animal choices

Animal dispersal in a fragmented landscape depends on the complex interaction between landscape structure and animal behavior. To better understand how individuals disperse, it is important to explicitly represent the properties of organisms and the landscape in which they move. A common approach to modelling dispersal includes representing the landscape as a grid of equal sized cells and then simulating individual movement as a correlated random walk. This approach uses a priori scale of resolution, which limits the representation of all landscape features and how different dispersal abilities are modelled. We develop a vector-based landscape model coupled with an object-oriented model for animal dispersal. In this spatially explicit dispersal model, landscape features are defined based on their geographic and thematic properties and dispersal is modelled through consideration of an organism's behavior, movement rules and searching strategies (such as visual cues). We present the model's underlying concepts, its ability to adequately represent landscape features and provide simulation of dispersal according to different dispersal abilities. We demonstrate the potential of the model by simulating two virtual species in a real Swiss landscape. This illustrates the model's ability to simulate complex dispersal processes and provides information about dispersal such as colonization probability and spatial distribution of the organism's path

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