Thomas Mueller

Thomas Mueller
Senckenberg Biodiversität und Klima - Forschungszentrum | BiK-F

PhD

About

118
Publications
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5,922
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Publications

Publications (118)
Article
Full-text available
Successful bird migration can depend on individual learning, social learning, and innate navigation programs. Using 8 years of data on migrating whooping cranes, we were able to partition genetic and socially learned aspects of migration. Specifically, we analyzed data from a reintroduced population wherein all birds were captive bred and artificia...
Article
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Anthropogenic changes in climate and land use are driving changes in migration patterns of birds worldwide. Spatial changes in migration have been related to long-term temperature trends, but the intrinsic mechanisms by which migratory species adapt to environmental change remain largely unexplored. We show that, for a long-lived social species, ol...
Article
Animal migration is a global phenomenon, but few studies have examined the substantial within- and between-species variation in migration distances. We built a global database of 94 land migrations of large mammalian herbivore populations ranging from 10 to 1638 km. We examined how resource availability, spatial scale of resource variability and bo...
Article
Quantifying ecosystem functions in spatially explicit ways is important for management decisions in increasingly fragmented landscapes. Between-patch dispersal of seeds by frugivores constitutes a key ecosystem function to ensure connectivity for fleshy-fruited plants. However, to date, methodological hurdles have limited our understanding of dispe...
Article
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Understanding complex movement behaviors via mechanistic models is one key challenge in movement ecology. We built a theoretical simulation model using evolutionarily trained artificial neural networks (ANNs) wherein individuals evolve movement behaviors in response to resource landscapes on which they search and navigate. We distinguished among no...
Article
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Macroecological studies that require habitat suitability data for many species often derive this information from expert opinion. However, expert‐based information is inherently subjective and thus prone to errors. The increasing availability of GPS tracking data offers opportunities to evaluate and supplement expert‐based information with detailed...
Article
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Space-based tracking technology using low-cost miniature tags is now delivering data on fine-scale animal movement at near-global scale. Linked with remotely sensed environmental data, this offers a biological lens on habitat integrity and connectivity for conservation and human health; a global network of animal sentinels of environmental change.
Preprint
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The most basic behavioural states of animals can be described as active or passive. However, while high-resolution observations of activity patterns can provide insights into the ecology of animal species, few methods are able to measure the activity of individuals of small taxa in their natural environment. We present a novel approach in which the...
Article
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Climate change causes shifts in species ranges globally. Terrestrial plant species often lag behind temperature shifts, and it is unclear to what extent animal‐dispersed plants can track climate change. Here, we estimate the ability of bird‐dispersed plant species to track future temperature change on a tropical mountain. Tropical elevational gradi...
Article
Reintroducing species to their historic range or reinforcing extant but endangered populations with individuals from elsewhere are popular conservation efforts to maintain long-term viable populations of animals. These efforts , known as conservation translocations, require proper monitoring of the fate of the animals that are released to assess th...
Article
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Recognizing variation in human–nature relationships across different contexts, entities of nature and individual people is central to an equitable management of nature and its contributions to people, and to design effective strategies for encouraging and guiding more sustainable human behaviour. We complement the broader Intergovernmental Science‐...
Article
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Migrating animals may benefit from social or experiential learning, yet whether and how these learning processes interact or change over time to produce observed migration patterns remains unexplored. Using 16 years of satellite-tracking data from 105 reintroduced whooping cranes, we reveal an interplay between social and experiential learning in m...
Article
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Many experiments have shown that biodiversity enhances ecosystem functioning. However, we have little understanding of how environmental heterogeneity shapes the effect of diversity on ecosystem functioning and to what extent this diversity effect is mediated by variation in species richness or species turnover. This knowledge is crucial to scaling...
Article
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1. Differences in ecosystem service (ES) priorities often lead to conflicts between stakeholders. While differences in priorities have often been described, the so-ciocultural factors, including differences in cultural worldview, which drive them have not. We propose that the cultural theory of risk and its 'grid-group' typology, which classifies p...
Article
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Our understanding of ungulate migration is advancing rapidly due to innovations in modern animal tracking. Herein, we review and synthesize nearly seven decades of work on migration and other long-distance movements of wild ungulates. Although it has long been appreciated that ungulates migrate to enhance access to forage, recent contributions demo...
Article
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The forage maturation hypothesis (FMH) states that energy intake for ungulates is maximised when forage biomass is at intermediate levels. Nevertheless, metabolic allometry and different digestive systems suggest that resource selection should vary across ungulate species. By combining GPS relocations with remotely sensed data on forage characteris...
Article
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The media widely covers large carnivores and their impacts on human livelihood and plays an important role in their conservation. Yet, we know little about how species identity affects news selection, framing, accuracy and information flow. We investigated the online coverage of two cases of attacks or alleged attacks on humans alternatingly attrib...
Article
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Migration of ungulates (hooved mammals) is a fundamental ecological process that promotes abundant herds, whose effects cascade up and down terrestrial food webs. Migratory ungulates provide the prey base that maintains large carnivore and scavenger populations and underpins terrestrial biodiversity (fig. S1). When ungulates move in large aggregati...
Article
Conservation conflicts involve an important emotional component that has been little investigated so far. In particular, the study of emotions involved in conservation conflicts have been limited in their scope (e.g. negative vs. positive sentiments) by the language studied (mostly English). Natural Language Processing (NLP) approaches combined wit...
Article
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1. Long-distance migrations are among the most physically demanding feats animals perform. Understanding the potential costs and benefits of such behaviour is a fundamental question in ecology and evolution. A hypothetical cost of migration should be outweighed by higher productivity and/or higher annual survival, but few studies on migratory speci...
Article
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Nomadic movements are often a consequence of unpredictable resource dynamics. However, how nomadic ungulates select dynamic resources is still understudied. Here we examined resource selection of nomadic Mongolian gazelles ( Procapra gutturosa ) in the Eastern Steppe of Mongolia. We used daily GPS locations of 33 gazelles tracked up to 3.5 years. W...
Article
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Migratory ungulates are thought to be declining globally because their dependence on large landscapes renders them highly vulnerable to environmental change. Yet recent studies reveal that many ungulate species can adjust their migration propensity in response to changing environmental conditions to potentially improve population persistence. In ad...
Technical Report
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“MORE STEP – Mobility at risk: Sustaining the Mongolian Steppe Ecosystem” is a collaborative and transdisciplinary research project conducted by Mongolian and Ger- man partners and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF 01LC1820E). The main aim is to bring social and ecological sciences together to identify societal d...
Article
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1. Recent research highlights the ecological importance of individual variation in behavioural predictability. Individuals may not only differ in their average expression of a behavioural trait (their behavioural type) and in their ability to adjust behaviour to changing environmental conditions (individual plasticity), but also in their variabilit...
Article
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Nature affects human well-being in multiple ways. However, the association between species diversity and human well-being at larger spatial scales remains largely unexplored. Here, we examine the relationship between species diversity and human well-being at the continental scale, while controlling for other known drivers of well-being. We related...
Article
Timing of activity can reveal an organism's efforts to optimize foraging either by minimizing energy loss through passive movement or by maximizing energetic gain through foraging. Here, we assess whether signals of either of these strategies are detectable in the timing of activity of daily, local movements by birds. We compare the similarities of...
Article
Timing of activity can reveal an organism's efforts to optimize foraging either by minimizing energy loss through passive movement or by maximizing energetic gain through foraging. Here, we assess whether signals of either of these strategies are detectable in the timing of activity of daily, local movements by birds. We compare the similarities of...
Article
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Global landscapes are changing due to human activities with consequences for both biodiversity and ecosystems. For single species, terrestrial mammal population densities have shown mixed responses to human pressure, with both increasing and decreasing densities reported in the literature. How the impacts of human activities on mammal populations t...
Article
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Wildlife has important effects on human well-being, ranging from beneficial contributions to life threatening interactions. Here, we systematically reviewed publications of both positive and negative non-material contributions of wildlife to people (WCP) for different taxonomic groups (birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians) and dimensions of huma...
Article
Network approaches provide insight into the complex web of interspecific interactions that structure ecological communities. However, because data on the functional outcomes of ecological networks are very rarely available, the effect of network structure on ecosystem functions, such as seed dispersal, is largely unknown. Here, we develop a new app...
Article
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Animal tracking and biologging devices record large amounts of data on individual movement behaviors in natural environments. In these data, movement ecologists often view unexplained variation around the mean as "noise" when studying patterns at the population level. In the field of behavioral ecology, however, focus has shifted from population me...
Preprint
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Animal tracking data are being collected more frequently, in greater detail, and on smaller taxa than ever before. These data hold the promise to increase the relevance of animal movement for understanding ecological processes, but this potential will only be fully realized if their accompanying location error is properly addressed. Historically, c...
Article
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Reduced human mobility during the pandemic will reveal critical aspects of our impact on animals, providing important guidance on how best to share space on this crowded planet.
Article
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• Realized trophic niches of predators are often characterized along a one‐dimensional range in predator–prey body mass ratios. This prey range is constrained by an “energy limit” and a “subdue limit” toward small and large prey, respectively. Besides these body mass ratios, maximum speed is an additional key component in most predator–prey interac...
Article
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Accurately quantifying species’ area requirements is a prerequisite for effective area‐based conservation. This typically involves collecting tracking data on species of interest and then conducting home‐range analyses. Problematically, autocorrelation in tracking data can result in space needs being severely underestimated. Based on previous work,...
Article
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Downsizing of animal communities due to defaunation is prevalent in many ecosystems. Yet, we know little about its consequences for ecosystem functions such as seed dispersal. Here, we use eight seed-dispersal networks sampled across the Andes and simulate how downsizing of avian frugivores impacts structural network robustness and seed dispersal....
Preprint
Full-text available
Network approaches provide insight into the complex web of interspecific interactions that structure ecological communities. However, because data on the functional outcomes of ecological networks are very rarely available, the effect of network structure on ecosystem functions, such as seed dispersal, is largely unknown. Here, we develop a new app...
Article
Full-text available
Large carnivores often impact human livelihoods and well‐being. Previous research has mostly focused on the negative impacts of large carnivores on human well‐being but has rarely considered the positive aspects of living with large carnivores. In particular, we know very little on people's direct experiences with large carnivores like personal enc...
Article
Plant-animal interactions are fundamentally important in ecosystems, but have often been ignored by studies of climate-change impacts on biodiversity. Here, we present a trait-based framework for predicting the responses of interacting plants and animals to climate change. We distinguish three pathways along which climate change can impact interact...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
Nationwide surveys show that most people in Germany welcome the return of the wolf and perceive wolves as an asset. Due to strong opposition to wolves by a minority, however, wolf recolonisation of Germany also entails social tensions and discontent. As this can potentially influence conservation policies, factors determining acceptance of or oppos...
Article
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Studying nomadic animal movement across species and ecosystems is essential for better understanding variability in nomadism. In arid environments, unpredictable changes in water and forage resources are known drivers of nomadic movements. Water resources vary temporally but are often spatially stationary, whereas foraging resources are often both...
Article
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Long-distance terrestrial migrations are imperiled globally. We determined both round-trip migration distances (straight-line measurements between migratory end points) and total annual movement (sum of the distances between successive relocations over a year) for a suite of large mammals that had potential for long-distance movements to test which...
Conference Paper
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Successful conservation strategies require frequent observations and assessments of the landscape. Although expert surveys provide a great level of detail, the trade-off is the limited spatial coverage and repetition with which they are executed. Remote sensing technology can partially resolve these issues; nevertheless, it still requires experts’...
Article
Understanding how exposure and information affect public attitudes towards returning large carnivores in Europe is critical for human-carnivore coexistence, especially for developing efficient and de-escalating communication strategies. The ongoing recolonization of wolves (Canis lupus) in Germany provides a unique opportunity to test the role of d...
Article
1.Conservation of nomadic species presents significant conservation challenges because of unpredictability in their movements and space use. Long‐term studies on nomadic species offering insights into the variability in space use within and between years are largely missing but are necessary to develop effective conservation strategies. 2.We examin...
Article
Recent advances in animal tracking reveal that many species display irregular movements that do not fall into classical categories of movement patterns such as range residency or migration. Here, we develop a unifying framework that distinguishes these nomadic movements based on their patterns, drivers, and mechanisms. Though they occur in diverse...
Article
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Wolves (Canis lupus) are currently showing a remarkable comeback in the highly fragmented cultural landscapes of Germany. We here show that wolf numbers increased exponentially between 2000 and 2015 with an annual increase of about 36%. We demonstrate that the first territories in each newly colonized region were established over long distances fro...
Article
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Aim Animal movement is an important determinant of individual survival, population dynamics and ecosystem structure and function. Nonetheless, it is still unclear how local movements are related to resource availability and the spatial arrangement of resources. Using resident bird species and migratory bird species outside the migratory period, we...
Article
Full-text available
Keywords: activity sensors brown bear GPS collar multivariate mixed model personality repeatability Ursus arctos Animal personality traits and the emergence of behavioural syndromes, i.e. between-individual correlation of behaviours, are commonly quantified from behavioural observations in controlled environments. Subjecting large and elusive wildl...
Article
Home range estimation is routine practice in ecological research. While advances in animal tracking technology have increased our capacity to collect data to support home range analysis, these same advances have also resulted in increasingly autocorrelated data. Consequently the question of which home range estimator to use on modern, highly autoco...
Technical Report
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The Eastern Steppe of Mongolia is one of the world's largest mostly intact grassland ecosystems and is characterised by a close coupling of societal and natural processes. In this ecosystem, mobility is one of the key characteristics of wildlife and human societies alike. The current economic development of Mongolia is accompanied by extensive soci...
Technical Report
Full-text available
"MORE STEP-Mobility at risk: Sustaining the Mongolian Steppe Ecosystem" is a collaborative and transdisciplinary research project conducted by Mongolian and German partners and funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research. The main aim is to bring together social and ecological sciences to identify societal drivers that can lead to ecolo...
Article
Full-text available
Even within a single population, individuals can display striking differences in behavior, with consequences for their survival and fitness. In reintroduced populations, managers often attempt to promote adaptive behaviors by controlling the early life experiences of individuals, but it remains largely unknown whether this early life training has l...
Article
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While many animal species exhibit strong conspecific interactions, movement analyses of wildlife tracking datasets still largely focus on single individuals. Multi-individual wildlife tracking studies provide new opportunities to explore how individuals move relative to one another, but such datasets are frequently too sparse for the detailed, acce...
Article
1.Despite the routine nature of estimating overlapping space use in ecological research, to date no formal inferential framework for home range overlap has been available to ecologists. Part of this issue is due to the inherent difficulty of comparing the estimated home ranges that underpin overlap across individuals, studies, sites, species, and t...
Article
Home-range estimation is an important application of animal tracking data that is frequently complicated by autocorrelation, sampling irregularity, and small effective sample sizes. We introduce a novel, optimal weighting method that accounts for temporal sampling bias in autocorrelated tracking data. This method corrects for irregular and missing...
Article
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Animals regularly return to locations such as foraging patches, nests, dens, watering holes, or movement corridors, and these revisited locations are often sites of ecological significance. Analyzing the temporal and spatial pattern of revisitation can lead to important insights into the life history and ecology of populations. We introduce the R p...
Article
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Animal movement is fundamental for ecosystem functioning and species survival, yet the effects of the anthropogenic footprint on animal movements have not been estimated across species. Using a unique GPS-tracking database of 803 individuals across 57 species, we found that movements of mammals in areas with a comparatively high human footprint wer...
Article
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The Mongolian Gobi is the most important stronghold of the Asiatic wild ass (Equus hemionus), housing > 75% of the remaining global population. However, even in this remote refuge, poaching and changes in land use are challenging the species’ conservation. Whereas progress has been made in monitoring population size, little data are available on po...
Article
Pair bonds can provide social benefits to long-term monogamous species alongside their benefits for reproduction. However, little is known about when these bonds form, in particular how long they are present before breeding. Previous studies of pair formation in long-term monogamous birds have been rather data-limited, but for many migratory birds...
Article
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Food availability plays a key role in animal movements. Anthropogenic provisioning of food to wildlife is a common practice of unprecedented magnitude worldwide and is of increasing conservation concern. Ungulate supplementary feeding is widespread in game management; however its effects on non-target species have received little attention. Here, w...