The Langevin diffusion as a continuous-time model of animal movement and habitat selection

Abstract : 1. The utilisation distribution describes the relative probability of use of a spatial unit by an animal. It is natural to think of it as the long-term consequence of the animal’s short-term movement decisions: it is the accumulation of small displacements which, over time, gives rise to global patterns of space use. However, most utilisation distribution models either ignore the underlying movement, assuming the independence of observed locations, or are based on simplistic Brownian motion movement rules. 2. We introduce a new continuous-time model of animal movement, based on the Langevin diffusion. This stochastic process has an explicit stationary distribution, conceptually analogous to the idea of the utilisation distribution, and thus provides an intuitive framework to integrate movement and space use. We model the stationary (utilisation) distribution with a resource selection function to link the movement to spatial covariates, and allow inference into habitat selection. 3. Standard approximation techniques can be used to derive the pseudo-likelihood of the Langevin diffusion movement model, and to estimate habitat preference and movement parameters from tracking data. We investigate the performance of the method on simulated data, and discuss its sensitivity to the time scale of the sampling. We present an example of its application to tracking data of Stellar sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). 4. Due to its continuous-time formulation, this method can be applied to irregular telemetry data. It provides a rigorous framework to estimate long-term habitat selection from correlated movement data.
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Contributeur : Marie-Pierre Etienne <>
Soumis le : mardi 23 octobre 2018 - 09:27:48
Dernière modification le : jeudi 28 février 2019 - 17:45:12
Document(s) archivé(s) le : jeudi 24 janvier 2019 - 12:42:28


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Distributed under a Creative Commons Paternité - Partage selon les Conditions Initiales 4.0 International License


  • HAL Id : hal-01900796, version 1
  • ARXIV : 1810.10213


Théo Michelot, Marie-Pierre Etienne, Pierre Gloaguen. The Langevin diffusion as a continuous-time model of animal movement and habitat selection. 2018. 〈hal-01900796〉



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