Using GIS to analyze animal movements in the marine environment

By: , and 
Edited by: Gordon H. KruseNicolas BezAnthony BoothMartin W. DornSusan HillsRomuald N. LipciusDominique PelletierClaude RoyStephen J. Smith, and David B. Witherell



Advanced methods for analyzing animal movements have been little used in the aquatic research environment compared to the terrestrial. In addition, despite obvious advantages of integrating geographic information systems (GIS) with spatial studies of animal movement behavior, movement analysis tools have not been integrated into GIS for either aquatic or terrestrial environments. We therefore developed software that integrates one of the most commonly used GIS programs (ArcView®) with a large collection of animal movement analysis tools. This application, the Animal Movement Analyst Extension (AMAE), can be loaded as an extension to ArcView® under multiple operating system platforms (PC, Unix, and Mac OS). It contains more than 50 functions, including parametric and nonparametric home range analyses, random walk models, habitat analyses, point and circular statistics, tests of complete spatial randomness, tests for autocorrelation and sample size, point and line manipulation tools, and animation tools. This paper describes the use of these functions in analyzing animal location data; some limited examples are drawn from a sonic-tracking study of Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) in Glacier Bay, Alaska. The extension is available on the Internet at

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Using GIS to analyze animal movements in the marine environment
ISBN 1-56612-068-3
DOI 10.4027/spmmp.2001
Year Published 2001
Language English
Publisher University of Alaska Sea Grant College Program
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title Spatial processes and management of marine populations
First page 37
Last page 51
Public Comments University of Alaska Sea Grant College Program Report No. AK-SG-01-02
Conference Title 17th Lowell Wakefield Symposium: Spatial Processes and Management of Marine Populations
Conference Location Anchorage, AK
Conference Date October 27-30, 1999
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