Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements

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Abstract

Animal movement is fundamental for ecosystem functioning and species survival, yet the effects of the anthropogenic footprint on animal movements have not been estimated across species. Using a unique GPS-tracking database of 803 individuals across 57 species, we found that movements of mammals in areas with a comparatively high human footprint were on average one-half to one-third the extent of their movements in areas with a low human footprint.We attribute this reduction to behavioral changes of individual animals and to the exclusion of species with long-range movements from areas with higher human impact. Global loss of vagility alters a key ecological trait of animals that affects not only population persistence but also ecosystem processes such as predator-prey interactions, nutrient cycling, and disease transmission.

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Tucker, M. A., Böhning-Gaese, K., Fagan, W. F., Fryxell, J. M., Van Moorter, B., Alberts, S. C., … Mueller, T. (2018). Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements. Science, 359(6374), 466–469. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aam9712

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