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Accidents alter animal fitness landscapes

Wheatley, R ORCID: 0000-0001-8302-0370, Buettel, JC ORCID: 0000-0001-6737-7468, Brook, BW ORCID: 0000-0002-2491-1517, Johnson, CN ORCID: 0000-0002-9719-3771 and Wilson, RP 2021 , 'Accidents alter animal fitness landscapes' , Ecology Letters, vol. 24, no. 5 , pp. 920-934 , doi: 10.1111/ele.13705.

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Animals alter their habitat use in response to the energetic demands of movement (‘energy landscapes’) and the risk of predation (‘the landscape of fear’). Recent research suggests that animals also select habitats and move in ways that minimise their chance of temporarily losing control of movement and thereby suffering slips, falls, collisions or other accidents, particularly when the consequences are likely to be severe (resulting in injury or death). We propose that animals respond to the costs of an ‘accident landscape’ in conjunction with predation risk and energetic costs when deciding when, where, and how to move in their daily lives. We develop a novel theoretical framework describing how features of physical landscapes interact with animal size, morphology, and behaviour to affect the risk and severity of accidents, and predict how accident risk might interact with predation risk and energetic costs to dictate movement decisions across the physical landscape. Future research should focus on testing the hypotheses presented here for different real-world systems to gain insight into the relative importance of theorised effects in the field.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Wheatley, R and Buettel, JC and Brook, BW and Johnson, CN and Wilson, RP
Keywords: dispersal, distribution, energy, fear, habitat selection, mistakes, movement ecology, predation, risk, animal behaviour, decision making, theory
Journal or Publication Title: Ecology Letters
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
ISSN: 1461-0248
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/ele.13705
Copyright Information:

© 2021 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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