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      Characterizing the movement patterns of minibus taxis in Kampala's paratransit system

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      Journal of Transport Geography
      Elsevier BV

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          Revisiting Lévy flight search patterns of wandering albatrosses, bumblebees and deer.

          The study of animal foraging behaviour is of practical ecological importance, and exemplifies the wider scientific problem of optimizing search strategies. Lévy flights are random walks, the step lengths of which come from probability distributions with heavy power-law tails, such that clusters of short steps are connected by rare long steps. Lévy flights display fractal properties, have no typical scale, and occur in physical and chemical systems. An attempt to demonstrate their existence in a natural biological system presented evidence that wandering albatrosses perform Lévy flights when searching for prey on the ocean surface. This well known finding was followed by similar inferences about the search strategies of deer and bumblebees. These pioneering studies have triggered much theoretical work in physics (for example, refs 11, 12), as well as empirical ecological analyses regarding reindeer, microzooplankton, grey seals, spider monkeys and fishing boats. Here we analyse a new, high-resolution data set of wandering albatross flights, and find no evidence for Lévy flight behaviour. Instead we find that flight times are gamma distributed, with an exponential decay for the longest flights. We re-analyse the original albatross data using additional information, and conclude that the extremely long flights, essential for demonstrating Lévy flight behaviour, were spurious. Furthermore, we propose a widely applicable method to test for power-law distributions using likelihood and Akaike weights. We apply this to the four original deer and bumblebee data sets, finding that none exhibits evidence of Lévy flights, and that the original graphical approach is insufficient. Such a graphical approach has been adopted to conclude Lévy flight movement for other organisms, and to propose Lévy flight analysis as a potential real-time ecosystem monitoring tool. Our results question the strength of the empirical evidence for biological Lévy flights.
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            How to reliably estimate the tortuosity of an animal's path: straightness, sinuosity, or fractal dimension?

            The tortuosity of an animal's path is a key parameter in orientation and searching behaviours. The tortuosity of an oriented path is inversely related to the efficiency of the orientation mechanism involved, the best mechanism being assumed to allow the animal to reach its goal along a straight line movement. The tortuosity of a random search path controls the local searching intensity, allowing the animal to adjust its search effort to the local profitability of the environment. This paper shows that (1) the efficiency of an oriented path can be reliably estimated by a straightness index computed as the ratio between the distance from the starting point to the goal and the path length travelled to reach the goal, but such a simple index, ranging between 0 and 1, cannot be applied to random search paths; (2) the tortuosity of a random search path, ranging between straight line movement and Brownian motion, can be reliably estimated by a sinuosity index which combines the mean cosine of changes of direction with the mean step length; and (3) in the current state of the art, the fractal analysis of animals' paths, which may appear as an alternative and promising way to measure the tortuosity of a random search path as a fractal dimension ranging between 1 (straight line movement) and 2 (Brownian motion), is only liable to generate artifactual results. This paper also provides some help for distinguishing between oriented and random search paths, and depicts a general, comprehensive framework for analysing individual animals' paths in a two-dimensional space.
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              On the Levy-Walk Nature of Human Mobility

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Transport Geography
                Journal of Transport Geography
                Elsevier BV
                09666923
                April 2021
                April 2021
                : 92
                : 103001
                Article
                10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2021.103001
                b1f4f962-d32b-4cb4-a2e0-90a94a055547
                © 2021

                https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/


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