Optimal migration strategies in animals that run: a range equation and its consequences

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Optimal migration theory depends to a large extent on the range equation, that is, a function relating potential distance moved to fuel load. Such range equations derived from aerodynamic principles exist for birds. I derive an analogous range equation for animals that run based on biomechanical principles. The range for animals that run is proportional to ln(1/+f), where f is the relative fuel load at departure and relates the mass at departure (m) to the lean mass (m(o)) as m=(1+f) m(o). Predictions pertaining to migration decisions, such as optimal stopover duration, fuel load and detours around barriers, can thereby be made for animals other than birds. I hope this paper will stimulate further experimental tests regarding migration decisions in suitable animal systems.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-636
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch