3 years ago

A call for viewshed ecology: Advancing our understanding of the ecology of information through viewshed analysis

Petri Pellikka, Job Aben, Justin M. J. Travis
There has been rapid increase of interest in the role that information acquisition plays in ecological process and in shaping life histories and their evolution. Compared to auditory and olfactory cues, the range at which visual cues are likely to be informative to animals is particularly sensitive to the spatial structure of the environment. However, quantification of and accounting for availability of visual information in fundamental and applied ecological research remains extremely limited. We argue that a comprehensive understanding of animal behaviour in a spatial context would greatly benefit from objective quantification of the area an animal can potentially obtain visual information from and therefore draw broad attention to viewshed analysis. This analysis identifies all cells of a gridded surface that are connected by lines-of-sight to a viewpoint, hence, providing information on how much of the environment surrounding a location can be seen. Although heavily used in non-ecological disciplines including civil planning and archaeology, viewshed analysis has seldom been applied in an ecological context. Here, we highlight the opportunity to make use of viewshed approaches in conjunction with three-dimensional remote sensing data and data from animal tracking to make major progress in understanding how visual information influences animal spatial behaviour, ecology and evolution.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12902

You might also like
Never Miss Important Research

Researcher is an app designed by academics, for academics. Create a personalised feed in two minutes.
Choose from over 15,000 academics journals covering ten research areas then let Researcher deliver you papers tailored to your interests each day.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.