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Suite of simple metrics reveals common movement syndromes across vertebrate taxa

Abrahms, B; Seidel, D P; Dougherty, E; Hazen, E L; Bograd, S J; Wilson, A M; Weldon McNutt, J; Costa, D P; Blake, S; Brashares, J S; Getz, W M


B Abrahms

D P Seidel

E Dougherty

E L Hazen

S J Bograd

A M Wilson

J Weldon McNutt

D P Costa

S Blake

J S Brashares

W M Getz


ecause empirical studies of animal movement are most-often site- and species-specific, we lack understanding of the level of consistency in movement patterns across diverse taxa, as well as a framework for quantitatively classifying movement patterns. We aim to address this gap by determining the extent to which statistical signatures of animal movement patterns recur across ecological systems. We assessed a suite of movement metrics derived from GPS trajectories of thirteen marine and terrestrial vertebrate species spanning three taxonomic classes, orders of magnitude in body size, and modes of movement (swimming, flying, walking). Using these metrics, we performed a principal components analysis and cluster analysis to determine if individuals organized into statistically distinct clusters. Finally, to identify and interpret commonalities within clusters, we compared them to computer-simulated idealized movement syndromes representing suites of correlated movement traits observed across taxa (migration, nomadism, territoriality, and central place foraging).


Abrahms, B., Seidel, D. P., Dougherty, E., Hazen, E. L., Bograd, S. J., Wilson, A. M., …Getz, W. M. (2017). Suite of simple metrics reveals common movement syndromes across vertebrate taxa. Movement Ecology, 5(12),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 28, 2017
Publication Date Jun 1, 2017
Deposit Date Sep 2, 2017
Publicly Available Date Sep 2, 2017
Journal Movement Ecology
Publisher BioMed Central
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue 12
Public URL


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