Integrating movement ecology with biodiversity research - exploring new avenues to address spatiotemporal biodiversity dynamics

Florian Jeltsch, Dries Bonte, Guy Pe'er, Björn Reineking, Peter Leimgruber, Niko Balkenhol, Boris Schröder, Carsten M. Buchmann, Thomas Mueller, Niels Blaum, Damaris Zurell, Katrin Böhning-Gaese, Thorsten Wiegand, Jana A. Eccard, Heribert Hofer, Jette Reeg, Ute Eggers, Silke Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


Movement of organisms is one of the key mechanisms shaping biodiversity, e.g. the distribution of genes, individuals and species in space and time. Recent technological and conceptual advances have improved our ability to assess the causes and consequences of individual movement, and led to the emergence of the new field of 'movement ecology'. Here, we outline how movement ecology can contribute to the broad field of biodiversity research, i.e. the study of processes and patterns of life among and across different scales, from genes to ecosystems, and we propose a conceptual framework linking these hitherto largely separated fields of research. Our framework builds on the concept of movement ecology for individuals, and demonstrates its importance for linking individual organismal movement with biodiversity. First, organismal movements can provide 'mobile links' between habitats or ecosystems, thereby connecting resources, genes, and processes among otherwise separate locations. Understanding these mobile links and their impact on biodiversity will be facilitated by movement ecology, because mobile links can be created by different modes of movement (i.e., foraging, dispersal, migration) that relate to different spatiotemporal scales and have differential effects on biodiversity. Second, organismal movements can also mediate coexistence in communities, through 'equalizing' and 'stabilizing' mechanisms. This novel integrated framework provides a conceptual starting point for a better understanding of biodiversity dynamics in light of individual movement and space-use behavior across spatiotemporal scales. By illustrating this framework with examples, we argue that the integration of movement ecology and biodiversity research will also enhance our ability to conserve diversity at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
JournalMovement Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 5 Aug 2013


  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Community dynamics
  • Individual based modeling
  • Landscape genetics
  • Long distance movement
  • Mobile links
  • Species coexistence


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