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Territoriality and home-range dynamics in meerkats, Suricata suricatta: a mechanistic modelling approach


Bateman, Andrew; Lewis, Mark A; Gall, Gabriella; Manser, Marta B; Clutton-Brock, Tim H (2015). Territoriality and home-range dynamics in meerkats, Suricata suricatta: a mechanistic modelling approach. Journal of Animal Ecology, 84(1):260-271.

Abstract

Multiple approaches exist to model patterns of space use across species, among them resource selection analysis, statistical home-range modelling and mechanistic movement modelling. Mechanistic home-range models combine the benefits of these approaches, describing emergent territorial patterns based on fine-scale individual- or group-movement rules and incorporating interactions with neighbours and the environment. These models have not, to date, been extended to dynamic contexts.
Using mechanistic home-range models, we explore meerkat (Suricata suricatta) territorial patterns, considering scent marking, direct group interactions and habitat selection. We also extend the models to accommodate dynamic aspects of meerkat territoriality (territory development and territory shift).
We fit models, representing multiple working hypotheses, to data from a long-term meerkat study in South Africa, and we compare models using Akaike's and Bayesian Information Criteria.
Our results identify important features of meerkat territorial patterns. Notably, larger groups do not seem to control larger territories, and groups apparently prefer dune edges along a dry river bed.
Our model extensions capture instances in which 1) a newly formed group interacts more strongly with its parent groups over time and 2) a group moves its territory core out of aversive habitat. This extends our mechanistic modelling framework in previously unexplored directions.

Abstract

Multiple approaches exist to model patterns of space use across species, among them resource selection analysis, statistical home-range modelling and mechanistic movement modelling. Mechanistic home-range models combine the benefits of these approaches, describing emergent territorial patterns based on fine-scale individual- or group-movement rules and incorporating interactions with neighbours and the environment. These models have not, to date, been extended to dynamic contexts.
Using mechanistic home-range models, we explore meerkat (Suricata suricatta) territorial patterns, considering scent marking, direct group interactions and habitat selection. We also extend the models to accommodate dynamic aspects of meerkat territoriality (territory development and territory shift).
We fit models, representing multiple working hypotheses, to data from a long-term meerkat study in South Africa, and we compare models using Akaike's and Bayesian Information Criteria.
Our results identify important features of meerkat territorial patterns. Notably, larger groups do not seem to control larger territories, and groups apparently prefer dune edges along a dry river bed.
Our model extensions capture instances in which 1) a newly formed group interacts more strongly with its parent groups over time and 2) a group moves its territory core out of aversive habitat. This extends our mechanistic modelling framework in previously unexplored directions.

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6 citations in Web of Science®
7 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:January 2015
Deposited On:31 Dec 2015 06:35
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 16:30
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0021-8790
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12267

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