Estimation and simulation of foraging trips in land-based marine predators
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The behavior of colony-based marine predators is the focus of much research globally. Large telemetry and tracking data sets have been collected for this group of animals, and are accompanied by many empirical studies that seek to segment tracks in some useful way, as well as theoretical studies of optimal foraging strategies. However, relatively few studies have detailed statistical methods for inferring behaviors in central place foraging trips. In this paper we describe an approach based on hidden Markov models, which splits foraging trips into segments labeled as "outbound", "search", "forage", and "inbound". By structuring the hidden Markov model transition matrix appropriately, the model naturally handles the sequence of behaviors within a foraging trip. Additionally, by structuring the model in this way, we are able to develop realistic simulations from the fitted model. We demonstrate our approach on data from southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) tagged on Kerguelen Island in the Southern Ocean. We discuss the differences between our 4-state model and the widely used 2-state model, and the advantages and disadvantages of employing a more complex model.
Michelot , T , Langrock , R , Bestley , S , Jonsen , I D , Photopoulou , T & Patterson , T A 2017 , ' Estimation and simulation of foraging trips in land-based marine predators ' Ecology , vol. 98 , no. 7 , pp. 1932-1944 . https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.1880
© 2017 by the Ecological Society of America. This work is made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the final published version of the work, which was originally published at: https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.1880
DescriptionTM and TP received support from IMBER-CLIOTOP and Macquarie University Safety Net Grant 9201401743. SB was supported under an Australia Research Council Super Science Fellowship. IDJ was supported by a Macquarie Vice-Chancellors Innovation Fellowship. TAP was supported by a CSIRO Julius Career Award and the Villum Foundation.
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