Three-dimensional random walk models of individual animal movement and their application to trap counts modelling [article]

Danish A Ahmed, Simon Benhamou, Michael B Bonsall, Sergei V Petrovskii
2020 bioRxiv   pre-print
Random walks (RWs) have proved to be a powerful modelling tool in ecology, particularly in the study of animal movement. An application of RW concerns trapping which is the predominant sampling method to date in insect ecology, invasive species, and agricultural pest management. A lot of research effort has been directed towards modelling ground-dwelling insects by simulating their movement in 2D, and computing pitfall trap counts, but comparatively very little for flying insects with 3D
more » ... d traps. Methods: We introduce the mathematics behind 3D RWs and present key metrics such as the mean squared displacement (MSD) and path sinuosity, which are already well known in 2D. We develop the mathematical theory behind the 3D correlated random walk (CRW) which involves short-term directional persistence and the 3D Biased random walk (BRW) which introduces a long-term directional bias in the movement so that there is an overall preferred movement direction. In this study, we consider three types of shape of 3D traps, which are commonly used in ecological field studies; a spheroidal trap, a cylindrical trap and a rectangular cuboidal trap. By simulating movement in 3D space, we investigated the effect of 3D trap shapes and sizes and of movement diffusion on trapping efficiency. Results: We found that there is a non-linear dependence of trap counts on the trap surface area or volume, but the effect of volume appeared to be a simple consequence of changes in area. Nevertheless, there is a slight but clear hierarchy of trap shapes in terms of capture efficiency, with the spheroidal trap retaining more counts than a cylinder, followed by the cuboidal type for a given area. We also showed that there is no effect of short-term persistence when diffusion is kept constant, but trap counts significantly decrease with increasing diffusion. Conclusion: Our results provide a better understanding of the interplay between the movement pattern, trap geometry and impacts on trapping efficiency, which leads to improved trap count interpretations, and more broadly, has implications for spatial ecology and population dynamics.
doi:10.1101/2020.07.28.224766 fatcat:pmyf4yruxbcj7ghcljkprpefvm