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Accidents alter animal fitness landscapes


Wheatley, R and Buettel, JC and Brook, BW and Johnson, CN and Wilson, RP, Accidents alter animal fitness landscapes, Ecology Letters, 24, (5) pp. 920-934. ISSN 1461-0248 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1111/ele.13705


Animals alter their habitat use in response to the energetic demands of movement (‘energy landscapes’) and the risk of predation (‘the landscape of fear’). Recent research suggests that animals also select habitats and move in ways that minimise their chance of temporarily losing control of movement and thereby suffering slips, falls, collisions or other accidents, particularly when the consequences are likely to be severe (resulting in injury or death). We propose that animals respond to the costs of an ‘accident landscape’ in conjunction with predation risk and energetic costs when deciding when, where, and how to move in their daily lives. We develop a novel theoretical framework describing how features of physical landscapes interact with animal size, morphology, and behaviour to affect the risk and severity of accidents, and predict how accident risk might interact with predation risk and energetic costs to dictate movement decisions across the physical landscape. Future research should focus on testing the hypotheses presented here for different real-world systems to gain insight into the relative importance of theorised effects in the field.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:dispersal, distribution, energy, fear, habitat selection, mistakes, movement ecology, predation, risk, animal behaviour, decision making, theory
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Evolutionary biology
Research Field:Evolutionary ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Wheatley, R (Dr Rebecca Wheatley)
UTAS Author:Buettel, JC (Dr Jessie Buettel)
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
ID Code:149056
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (CE170100015)
Web of Science® Times Cited:5
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2022-03-03
Last Modified:2022-04-07

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