Michelle Wcisel is a Zoologist specialized in predator/prey behaivour and the Scientific Communicator for EDNA Interactive. She has spent the past 4 years studying the behaviour of white sharks and Cape fur seals at Geyser Rock, ‘Shark Alley’, South Africa.
Animal movement is often shaped by natural barriers; a fish can’t leave the river it swims in, a tortoise is going to struggle to climb a cliff face, and a pangolin can’t swim across the sea. These barriers come quite naturally to the animals, yet researchers have often struggled to account for these constraints in movement analysis, particularly when it comes to estimating home range (or ‘Utilization Distributions’, UDs). Unfortunately, the few solutions that have attempted to account for barriers are often incredibly complicated without providing much improvement overall, so previous studies have been forced to simply ‘clip out’ the parts of the estimate that extend over these inconceivable areas (i.e. Heupel et al. 2004; Hammerschlag et al. 2012; Jewell et al. 2012).