How memory of direct animal interactions can lead to territorial patterns formation

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Mechanistic home range analysis (MHRA) is a highly effective tool for
    understanding spacing patterns of animal populations. It has hitherto
    focused on populations where animals defend their territories by communicating indirectly, e.g. via scent marks. However, many animal populations
    defend their territories using direct interactions, such as ritualized aggression. To enable application of MHRA to such populations, we construct a
    model of direct territorial interactions, using linear stability analysis and
    energy methods to understand when territorial patterns may form. We
    show that spatial memory of past interactions is vital for pattern formation,
    as is memory of ‘safe’ places, where the animal has visited but not suffered
    recent territorial encounters. Additionally, the spatial range over which animals make decisions to move is key to understanding the size and shape of
    their resulting territories. Analysis using energy methods, on a simplified
    version of our system, shows that stability in the nonlinear system corresponds well to predictions of linear analysis. We also uncover a hysteresis
    in the process of territory formation, so that formation may depend crucially
    on initial space-use. Our analysis, in one dimension and two dimensions,
    provides mathematical groundwork required for extending MHRA to
    situations where territories are defended by direct encounters.

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  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International