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Using GIS to analyze animal movements in the marine environment

January 1, 2001

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 Year 2001
Title Using GIS to analyze animal movements in the marine environment
DOI 10.4027/spmmp.2001
Authors Philip N. Hooge, William M. Eichenlaub, Elizabeth K. Solomon
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Index ID 70188996
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center