Current status and future directions of Levy walk research

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Reynolds, A. M. 2018. Current status and future directions of Levy walk research. Biology Open. 7 (1), p. bio030106.

AuthorsReynolds, A. M.

Lévy walks are a mathematical construction useful for describing random patterns of movement with bizarre fractal properties that seem to have no place in biology. Nonetheless, movement patterns resembling Lévy walks have been observed at scales ranging from the microscopic to the ecological. They have been seen in the molecular machinery operating within cells during intracellular trafficking, in the movement patterns of T cells within the brain, in DNA, in some molluscs, insects, fish, birds and mammals, in the airborne flights of spores and seeds, and in the collective movements of some animal groups. Lévy walks are also evident in trace fossils (ichnofossils) – the preserved form of tracks made by organisms that occupied ancient sea beds about 252-66 million years ago. And they are utilised by algae that originated around two billion years ago, and still exist today. In September of 2017, leading researchers from across the life sciences, along with mathematicians and physicists, got together at a Company of Biologists' Workshop to discuss the origins and biological significance of these movement patterns. In this Review the essence of the technical and sometimes heated discussions is distilled and made accessible for all. In just a few pages, the reader is taken from a gentle introduction to the frontiers of a very active field of scientific enquiry. What emerges is a fascinating story of a truly inter-disciplinary scientific endeavour that is seeking to better understand movement patterns occurring across all biological scales.

KeywordsAnimal movement patterns; Lévy walks; Optimal foraging
Year of Publication2018
JournalBiology Open
Journal citation7 (1), p. bio030106
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeBBSRC Strategic Programme in Smart Crop Protection
Pathogen surveillance and monitoring
Publisher's version
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online11 Jan 2018
Copyright licenseCC BY
PublisherCompany Of Biologists Ltd

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