Distribution of Individuals

  • Marcelo Hernán Cassini


The distribution of individuals is a field mainly studied by behavioural sciences. It is largely concerned with animals, although some models can be applied to plants. Behavioural ecologists study decision rules that follow non-sessile individuals on when to start a movement; speed and direction of a movement; sites at which to stop, forage, be vigilant, or rest; and time spent for each activity. The result of these behaviours is an individual pattern of habitat use. Measured along the life of an animal, this pattern demarcates a home range. This chapter begins with a description of movement strategies in animals as mechanisms that result in an individual pattern of distribution. It is followed by two sections that discuss two types of descriptive models of individual habitat use: home-range estimations and site suitability models. The analytical approach is presented in the following two sections, and it is based on foraging theory, which developed models to predict residence times in foraging areas and to resolve the trade-off between forage and defence against predators. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the expected distributions at equilibrium.


Home Range Predation Risk Patch Type Spider Monkey Minimum Convex Polygon 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcelo Hernán Cassini
    • 1
  1. 1.National Scientific and Technical Research Council & Luján UniversityBuenos AiresArgentina

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