Title

Predicting the Dynamics of Animal Behaviour in Field Populations

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-1-2007

Keywords

colony occupancy, differential equation, dynamic modelling, glaucous-winged gull, habitat ecology, Larus glaucescens, mathematical modelling, sleep, territory attendance

Abstract

Many species show considerable variation in behaviour among individuals. We show that some behaviours are largely deterministic and predictable with mathematical models. We propose a general differential equation model of behaviour in field populations and use the methodology to explain and predict the dynamics of sleep and colony attendance in seabirds as a function of environmental factors. Our model explained over half the variability in the data to which it was fitted, and it predicted the dynamics of an independent data set. Differential equation models may provide new approaches to the study of behaviour in animals and humans. © 2007 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Journal Title

Animal Behaviour

Volume

74

Issue

1

First Page

103

Last Page

110

DOI

10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.11.015

First Department

Mathematics

Second Department

Biology

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