Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Movement ecology

December 29, 2020

(Yackulic) At first glance, the decision to study movement in Galapagos tortoises seems curious. Given the slow speed of tortoises and tendency to forage and rest as they move, it seems implausible that tortoises would string their slow bursts of activity together to accomplish large-scale movements. Nonetheless, as early as 1815 (Porter 1815), visitors to Galapagos have noted the propensity for tortoises to walk long distances along well used trails, leading to seasonal changes in the distribution of tortoises on the various islands of the Archipelago. In recent years, advances in the technology used to track animals have led to a better understanding of movement and the diversity of movement strategies among many animal taxa. This chapter focuses on the application of these technologies to study of movement in Galapagos tortoises. Recent work has shown not only the diversity of movement strategies employed by Galapagos tortoises, but also illustrated how movement can both cause and be a consequence of interaction between reproductive and foraging ecologies of tortoises and the presence of strong environmental gradients. Understanding how critical unimpeded movement is to the persistence of Galapagos tortoises also informs efforts to maintain connectivity to, and suitable habitat within, tortoise range outside of protected areas.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Movement ecology
DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-817554-5.00018-6
Authors Stephen Blake, Charles B. Yackulic, Freddy Cabrera, Sharon L. Deem, Diego Ellis-Soto, James P. Gibbs, Franz Kummeth, Martin Wikelski, Guillaume Bastille-Rousseau
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70217088
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southwest Biological Science Center