Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

The “Lévy or Diffusion” Controversy: How Important is the Movement Pattern in the Context of Trapping?

Version 1 : Received: 30 March 2018 / Approved: 30 March 2018 / Online: 30 March 2018 (16:19:52 CEST)

How to cite: Ahmed, D.A.; Petrovskii, S.V.; Tilles, P.F. The “Lévy or Diffusion” Controversy: How Important is the Movement Pattern in the Context of Trapping?. Preprints 2018, 2018030276 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201803.0276.v1). Ahmed, D.A.; Petrovskii, S.V.; Tilles, P.F. The “Lévy or Diffusion” Controversy: How Important is the Movement Pattern in the Context of Trapping?. Preprints 2018, 2018030276 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201803.0276.v1).

Abstract

Many empirical and theoretical studies indicate that Brownian motion and diffusion models as its mean field counterpart provide appropriate modelling techniques for individual insect movement. However, this traditional approach has been challenged and conflicting evidence suggests that an alternative movement pattern such as Lévy walks can provide a better description. Lévy walks differ from Brownian motion since they allow for a higher frequency of large steps, resulting in a faster movement. Identification of the ‘correct’ movement model that would consistently provide the best fit for movement data is challenging and has become a highly controversial issue. In this paper, we show that this controversy may be superficial rather than real if the issue is considered in the context of trapping or, more generally, survival probabilities. In particular, we show that almost identical trap counts are reproduced for inherently different movement models (such as the Brownian motion and the Lévy walk) under certain conditions of equivalence. This apparently suggests that the whole ‘Levy or diffusion’ debate is rather senseless unless it is placed into a specific ecological context, e.g. pest monitoring programmes.

Subject Areas

Diffusion, Random walks, Brownian motion, Levy walks, Stable laws, Individual movement, Trap counts, Pest monitoring.

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