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Animal MigrationA Synthesis$
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E.J. Milner-Gulland, John M. Fryxell, and Anthony R.E. Sinclair

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568994

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568994.001.0001

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Uncertainty and predictability: the niches of migrants and nomads

Uncertainty and predictability: the niches of migrants and nomads

(p.90) (p.91) Chapter 7 Uncertainty and predictability: the niches of migrants and nomads
Animal Migration

Niclas Jonzén

Endre Knudsen

Robert D. Holt

Bernt‐Erik Sæther

Oxford University Press

Animal movement is a general strategy for dealing with environmental variability, but takes on a variety of forms according to life history constraints and environmental covariates. This chapter contrasts migration with less regular nomadic movements, and invokes the niche concept for linking the diversity of movement patterns to the resource environment and the mechanisms of movement ecology. The statistical properties of the resource environment are key to understanding the merits of movement strategies in different environments, and particular emphasis is put on dimensions and scales of resource variability and predictability in space and time. While migration is frequently seen as an adaptation to avoiding severe conditions and exploiting predictable spatiotemporal variation in resource abundance, nomadism can be seen as an adaptation to variability and unpredictability rather than severity. An exploratory exposition illustrates how analysis of space-time data on resources can be helpful for explaining diversity of movement patterns.

Keywords:   migration, nomadism, movement patterns, niches, predictability, variability, resource dynamics, spatial heterogeneity

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