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Bayesian estimation of animal movement from archival and satellite tags

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posted on 2023-05-26, 15:55 authored by Sumner, MD, Wotherspoon, SJ, Hindell, MA
The reliable estimation of animal location, and its associated error is fundamental to animal ecology. There are many existing techniques for handling location error, but these are often ad hoc or are used in isolation from each other. In this study we present a Bayesian framework for determining location that uses all the data available, is flexible to all tagging techniques, and provides location estimates with built-in measures of uncertainty. Bayesian methods allow the contributions of multiple data sources to be decomposed into manageable components. We illustrate with two examples for two different location methods: satellite tracking and light level geo-location. We show that many of the problems with uncertainty involved are reduced and quantified by our approach. This approach can use any available information, such as existing knowledge of the animal's potential range, light levels or direct location estimates, auxiliary data, and movement models. The approach provides a substantial contribution to the handling uncertainty in archival tag and satellite tracking data using readily available tools.


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Copyright 2009 Sumner et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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