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Data from: Equivalence between step selection functions and biased correlated random walks for statistical inference on animal movement

Citation

Duchesne, Thierry; Fortin, Daniel; Rivest, Louis-Paul (2016), Data from: Equivalence between step selection functions and biased correlated random walks for statistical inference on animal movement, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.217t3

Abstract

Animal movement has a fundamental impact on population and community structure and dynamics. Biased correlated random walks (BCRW) and step selection functions (SSF) are commonly used to study movements. Because no studies have contrasted the parameters and the statistical properties of their estimators for models constructed under these two Lagrangian approaches, it remains unclear whether or not they allow for similar inference. First, we used the Weak Law of Large Numbers to demonstrate that the log-likelihood function for estimating the parameters of BCRW models can be approximated by the log-likelihood of SSFs. Second, we illustrated the link between the two approaches by fitting BCRW with maximum likelihood and with SSF to simulated movement data in virtual environments and to the trajectory of bison (Bison bison L.) trails in natural landscapes. Using simulated and empirical data, we found that the parameters of a BCRW estimated directly from maximum likelihood and by fitting an SSF were remarkably similar. Movement analysis is increasingly used as a tool for understanding the influence of landscape properties on animal distribution. In the rapidly developing field of movement ecology, management and conservation biologists must decide which method they should implement to accurately assess the determinants of animal movement. We showed that BCRW and SSF can provide similar insights into the environmental features influencing animal movements. Both techniques have advantages. BCRW has already been extended to allow for multi-state modeling. Unlike BCRW, however, SSF can be estimated using most statistical packages, it can simultaneously evaluate habitat selection and movement biases, and can easily integrate a large number of movement taxes at multiple scales. SSF thus offers a simple, yet effective, statistical technique to identify movement taxis.

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