Research Repository

Sampling rate and misidentification of Lévy and non-Lévy movement paths

Plank, Michael J and Codling, Edward A (2009) 'Sampling rate and misidentification of Lévy and non-Lévy movement paths.' Ecology, 90 (12). pp. 3546-3553. ISSN 0012-9658

Full text not available from this repository.


A large number of empirical studies have attributed Levy search patterns to the foraging movements of animals. Typically, this is done by fitting a power-law distribution with an exponent of 1 < μ ≤ 3 to the observed step lengths. Most studies record the animal's location at equally spaced time intervals, which are sometimes significantly longer than the natural time scale of the animal's movements. The collected data thus represent a subsample of the animal's movement. in this paper, the effect of subsampling on the observed properties of both Lévy and non-Lévy simulated movement paths is investigated. We find that the apparent properties of the observed movement path can be sensitive to the sampling rate even though Lévy search patterns are supposedly scale-independent. We demonstrate that, in certain contexts and dependent on the sampling rate used in observation, it is possible to misidentify a non-Lévy movement path as being a Lévy path. We also demonstrate that a Lévy movement path can be misidentified as a non-Lévy path, but this is dependent on the value of μ of the original simulated path, with the greatest uncertainty for μ = 2. We discuss the implications of these results in the context of studies of animal movements and foraging behavior. © 2009 by the Ecological Society of America.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Levy walk; optimal foraging; power law; random walk; subsampling
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Mathematical Sciences, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2011 14:09
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2022 11:40

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item