Energetic and biomechanical constraints on animal migration distance

Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.
Ecology Letters (Impact Factor: 13.04). 11/2011; 15(2):104-10. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01714.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Animal migration is one of the great wonders of nature, but the factors that determine how far migrants travel remain poorly understood. We present a new quantitative model of animal migration and use it to describe the maximum migration distance of walking, swimming and flying migrants. The model combines biomechanics and metabolic scaling to show how maximum migration distance is constrained by body size for each mode of travel. The model also indicates that the number of body lengths travelled by walking and swimming migrants should be approximately invariant of body size. Data from over 200 species of migratory birds, mammals, fish, and invertebrates support the central conclusion of the model - that body size drives variation in maximum migration distance among species through its effects on metabolism and the cost of locomotion. The model provides a new tool to enhance general understanding of the ecology and evolution of migration.

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    • "It is not surprising that large species disperse farther, as this pattern was reported in several groups with contrasted modes of locomotion, including birds, mammals or fishes (Paradis et al. 1998; Sutherland et al. 2000; Bradbury et al. 2008). One potential explanation is that it is energetically less costly to move per unit mass and distance for large, mobile organisms than it is for small ones (Schmidt-Nielsen 1972; Hein et al. 2012). Yet, we also observed a quadratic relationship between body size and the moment of dispersal distances with evidence of lower dispersal distances in the largest species. "
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    ABSTRACT: Dispersal, the behaviour ensuring gene flow, tends to covary with a number of morphological, ecological and behavioural traits. While species-specific dispersal behaviours are the product of each species' unique evolutionary history, there may be distinct interspecific patterns of covariation between dispersal and other traits ('dispersal syndromes') due to their shared evolutionary history or shared environments. Using dispersal, phylogeny and trait data for 15 terrestrial and semi-terrestrial animal Orders (> 700 species), we tested for the existence and consistency of dispersal syndromes across species. At this taxonomic scale, dispersal increased linearly with body size in omnivores, but decreased above a critical length in herbivores and carnivores. Species life history and ecology significantly influenced patterns of covariation, with higher phylogenetic signal of dispersal in aerial dispersers compared with ground dwellers and stronger evidence for dispersal syndromes in aerial dispersers and ectotherms, compared with ground dwellers and endotherms. Our results highlight the complex role of dispersal in the evolution of species life-history strategies: good dispersal ability was consistently associated with high fecundity and survival, and in aerial dispersers it was associated with early maturation. We discuss the consequences of these findings for species evolution and range shifts in response to future climate change.
    Ecology Letters 06/2014; DOI:10.1111/ele.12303 · 13.04 Impact Factor
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    • "Many studies have shown dispersal distances to be strongly related to life-history traits. For animals, several recent papers highlight the strong correlation between species traits and dispersal ability (Garrard et al. 2012, Hein et al. 2012, Stevens et al. 2012). For plants, it is known that dispersal distance is related to a dispersal syndrome (Willson 1993, Pa¨rtel and Zobel 2007, Vittoz and Engler 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies have shown plant species' dispersal distances to be strongly related to life-history traits, but how well different traits can predict dispersal distances is not yet known. We used cross-validation techniques and a global data set (576 plant species) to measure the predictive power of simple plant traits to estimate species' maximum dispersal distances. Including dispersal syndrome (wind, animal, ant, ballistic, and no special syndrome), growth form (tree, shrub, herb), seed mass, seed release height, and terminal velocity in different combinations as explanatory variables we constructed models to explain variation in measured maximum dispersal distances and evaluated their power to predict maximum dispersal distances. Predictions are more accurate, but also limited to a particular set of species, if data on more specific traits, such as terminal velocity, are available. The best model (R2 = 0.60) included dispersal syndrome, growth form, and terminal velocity as fixed effects. Reasonable predictions of maximum dispersal distance (R2 = 0.53) are also possible when using only the simplest and most commonly measured traits; dispersal syndrome and growth form together with species taxonomy data. We provide a function (dispeRsal) to be run in the software package R. This enables researchers to estimate maximum dispersal distances with confidence intervals for plant species using measured traits as predictors. Easily obtainable trait data, such as dispersal syndrome (inferred from seed morphology) and growth form, enable predictions to be made for a large number of species.
    Ecology 02/2014; 95(2):505-13. DOI:10.1890/13-1000.1 · 5.00 Impact Factor
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    • "However a number of recent high profile papers have highlighted the value of data-sharing. For example meta-analysis of movement data across taxa has helped identify commonalities in animal search patterns (Humphries et al., 2010), as well as the constraints on long distance migration across taxa (Hays and Scott, 2012; Hein et al., 2011). Perhaps those working with charismatic marine mega-fauna can learn lessons from some other fields where data are often freely available. "
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    ABSTRACT: The last 20 years have been exciting times for scientists working with charismatic marine mega-fauna. Here recent advances are reviewed. There have been advances in both data gathering and data-analysis techniques that have allowed new insights into the physiological and behavioural ecology of free-ranging mega-faunal species; some marine mega-faunal species have now become model organisms for cutting edge approaches to identify the underlying mathematical properties of animal search patterns and hence the underlying behavioural processes (e.g. Levy flight versus Brownian motion); the implications of climate change have started to become more apparent with extended time-series of animal movements, abundance and performance; conservation issues have become integrated into marine planning and have resulted in the advent of extended networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) as well as large MPAs that span many 100,000 km2; and collaborative cross-disciplinary teams have started to reveal the importance of ocean currents in animal dispersal, the ontogeny of migration and population genetic structure. Looking to the future, increased data availability (e.g. through data sharing) will likely allow more holistic across-taxa analyses to become routine.
    Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 01/2014; 450:1–5. DOI:10.1016/j.jembe.2013.10.015 · 2.48 Impact Factor
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