The Levy flight paradigm - random search patterns and mechanisms

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Reynolds, A. M. and Rhodes, C. J. 2009. The Levy flight paradigm - random search patterns and mechanisms. Ecology. 90 (4), pp. 877-887.

AuthorsReynolds, A. M. and Rhodes, C. J.

Over recent years there has been an accumulation of evidence from a variety of experimental, theoretical, and field studies that many organisms use a movement strategy approximated by Levy flights when they are searching for resources. Levy flights are random movements that can maximize the efficiency of resource searches in uncertain environments. This is a highly significant finding because it suggests that Levy flights provide a rigorous mathematical basis for separating out evolved, innate behaviors from environmental influences. We discuss recent developments in random-search theory, as well as the many different experimental and data collection initiatives that have investigated search strategies. Methods for trajectory construction and robust data analysis procedures are presented. The key to prediction and understanding does, however, lie in the elucidation of mechanisms underlying the observed patterns. We discuss candidate neurological, olfactory, and learning mechanisms for the emergence of Levy flight patterns in some organisms, and note that convergence of behaviors along such different evolutionary pathways is not surprising given the energetic efficiencies that Levy flight movement patterns confer.

Year of Publication2009
Journal citation90 (4), pp. 877-887
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
PubMed ID19449680
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Research Councils of the United Kingdom - UK
Funder project or codeCentre for Mathematical and Computational Biology (MCB)
Project: 4939
Grant IDBB/E010695/1

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