KNAW Repository

Levy walks evolve through interaction between movement and environmental complexity

De Jager, M. and Weissing, F.J. and Herman, P.M.J. and Nolet, B.A. and Van de Koppel, J. (2011) Levy walks evolve through interaction between movement and environmental complexity. Science, 332, 1551-1553. ISSN 0036-8075.

[img]PDF - Published Version
Restricted to KNAW only


Official URL:


Ecological theory predicts that animal movement is shaped by its efficiency of resource acquisition. Focusing solely on efficiency, however, ignores the fact that animal activity can affect resource availability and distribution. Here, we show that feedback between individual behavior and environmental complexity can explain movement strategies in mussels. Specifically, experiments show that mussels use a Lévy walk during the formation of spatially patterned beds, and models reveal that this Lévy movement accelerates pattern formation. The emergent patterning in mussel beds, in turn, improves individual fitness. These results suggest that Lévy walks evolved as a result of the selective advantage conferred by autonomously generated, emergent spatial patterns in mussel beds. Our results emphasize that an interaction between individual selection and habitat complexity shapes animal movement in natural systems.

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:9142
Deposited On:12 Jul 2011 02:00
Last Modified:31 Mar 2014 10:45

Repository Staff Only: item control page