Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 449542
Title How superdiffusion gets arrested: ecological encounters explain shift from Lévy to Brownian movement
Author(s) Jager, M. de; Bartumeus, F.; Kölzsch, A.; Weissing, F.J.; Hengeveld, G.M.; Nolet, B.A.; Herman, P.M.J.; Koppel, J. van de
Source Proceedings of the Royal Society. B: Biological Sciences 281 (2014)1774. - ISSN 0962-8452 - 8 p.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2013.2605
Department(s) Alterra - Vegetation, forest and landscape ecology
Resource Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) power-law distributions - flight search patterns - environmental complexity - walks evolve - predators - dynamics - animals - mussels - success
Abstract Ecological theory uses Brownian motion as a default template for describing ecological movement, despite limited mechanistic underpinning. The generality of Brownian motion has recently been challenged by empirical studies that highlight alternative movement patterns of animals, especially when foraging in resource-poor environments. Yet, empirical studies reveal animals moving in a Brownian fashion when resources are abundant. We demonstrate that Einstein's original theory of collision-induced Brownian motion in physics provides a parsimonious, mechanistic explanation for these observations. Here, Brownian motion results from frequent encounters between organisms in dense environments. In density-controlled experiments, movement patterns of mussels shifted from Lévy towards Brownian motion with increasing density. When the analysis was restricted to moves not truncated by encounters, this shift did not occur. Using a theoretical argument, we explain that any movement pattern approximates Brownian motion at high-resource densities, provided that movement is interrupted upon encounters. Hence, the observed shift to Brownian motion does not indicate a density-dependent change in movement strategy but rather results from frequent collisions. Our results emphasize the need for a more mechanistic use of Brownian motion in ecology, highlighting that especially in rich environments, Brownian motion emerges from ecological interactions, rather than being a default movement pattern
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