... Website_banner_rotated
Photo credit: Alan M. Wilson

Bridging the gap between animal movement and functional trait databases to facilitate global ecological and evolutionary discoveries

Roxanne Beltran

University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

Animal tracking databases have facilitated impactful synthesis research on biologically important geographic regions, habitat overlaps, and human impacts. Similarly, animal morphological-functional trait databases for body size, limb length, etc. have been used independently to produce valuable insights into the drivers of demography and ecosystem roles of different species. In this commentary, we will demonstrate how the proliferation of publicly-available animal tracking and functional trait databases make this an ideal time to combine the two into a rich quantitative framework for developing and testing hypotheses across geographic, temporal and biological allometric scales. Using opposing but complementary perspectives, we will address two primary questions: 1) Which movement ecology questions can only be answered when functional trait data are known? 2) Vice versa, which biomechanics and bioenergetics questions can we only measure when movement ecology data are readily available? We posit that combining these large, detailed datasets will allow biologists to tackle global ecological and evolutionary questions with unprecedented sample sizes. For example, how does the degree of sexual size dimorphism and resulting energy requirements drive sex-specific migration strategies in mammals and birds? Likewise, how does the energetic cost per stroke/step in walkers, swimmers, and flyers scale up to entire migrations? Quantifying the complex interactions between biomechanics, energetics, and movement ecology in species with vastly different traits (body size + locomotion method) would represent a major advance in conservation and wildlife management biology.






Click below to return to the Programme

Integrating Biomechanics, Energetics and Ecology in Locomotion

Click below to return to the symposium home page

Sponsored by:


Visit our journal websites

Development Journal of Cell Science The Journal of Experimental Biology Disease Models & Mechanisms Biology Open

© 2024 The Company of Biologists Ltd | Registered Charity 277992
Registered in England and Wales | Company Limited by Guarantee No 514735
Registered office: Bidder Building, Station Road, Histon, Cambridge CB24 9LF, UK