Using dynamic brownian bridge movement models to identify home range size and movement patterns in king cobras

Inês Silva, Matthew Crane, Pongthep Suwanwaree, Colin Strine, Matt Goode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Home range estimators are a critical component for understanding animal spatial ecology. The choice of home range estimator in spatial ecology studies can significantly influence management and conservation actions, as different methods lead to vastly different interpretations of movement patterns, habitat selection, as well as home range requirements. Reptile studies in particular have struggled to reach a consensus on the appropriate home range estimators to use, and species with cryptic behavior make home range assessment difficult. We applied dynamic Brownian Bridge Movement Models (dBBMMs) to radio-telemetry data from Ophiophagus hannah, a wide-ranging snake species. We used two focal individuals at different life stages (one juvenile male and one adult male) and sought to identify whether the method would accurately represent both their home range and movement patterns. To assess the suitability of dBBMMs, we compared this novel method with traditional home range estimation methods: minimum convex polygons (MCP) and Kernel density estimators (KDE). Both KDE and MCP incorporated higher levels of Type I and Type II errors, which would lead to biases in our understanding of this species space-use and habitat selection. Although these methods identified some general spatial-temporal patterns, dBBMMs were more efficient at detecting movement corridors and accurately representing long-term shelters sites, showing an improvement over methods traditionally favored in reptile studies. The additional flexibility of the dBBMM approach in providing insight into movement patterns can help further improve conservation and management actions. Additionally, our results suggest that dBBMMs may be more widely applicable in studies that rely on VHF telemetry and not limited to studies employing GPS tags.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0203449
JournalPloS one
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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