Coast to Coast Seminar Series: "The effects of confinement and landscape fragmentation on predator-prey dynamics"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
11:30 - 12:30

Dr. Sheldon B. Opps
Department of Physics, University of Prince Edward Island


A better comprehension of animal movement is vital to interpreting key ecological and evolutionary processes such as the spatial-temporal patterns of resource selection, foraging behaviour, and predator-prey interactions. As human activities continually alter landscapes and influence the behaviour and movement patterns of organisms, a variety of pressing ecological and health issues are emerging, such as the spread of invasive species and infectious diseases. Hence, advances in our understanding of animal movement will have direct implications in several disciplines including landscape ecology, conservation biology, and wildlife management, as well as those dealing with public health.

In this talk, I will discuss our recent studies on the effects of confinement and landscape fragmentation on predator-prey dynamics through the use of a robust individual-based movement model (IBMM). The relative foraging efficiency for different predator (and prey) search models is examined, including the area-restrictive search, Levy walk, and a composite correlated random walk (CCRW) model, under different confinement and fragmentation conditions. In addition, a number of movement metrics are calculated, including the move-length distribution, the net squared displacement, the radius of gyration, and the turning-angle correlation function, to examine the effects of confinement on scaling behaviour. The simulation results will be compared with recent field studies that we have conducted on the red fox (Prince Edward Island) and the wild dog (South Africa).