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Lévy flights and the search behaviour of top predators

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Christian Franzke.

Open to non-BAS; please contact Christian Franzke (chan1 (at) if you would like to attend.

Search processes play an important role in physical, chemical and biological systems, including, for example, the encounter of two molecules to perform a chemical reaction, proteins searching megabases of DNA for specific binding sites, and in animal foraging. Lévy flights have been identified as a very efficient search strategy under certain conditions by combining local search with longer excursions in a scale-free pattern. Much recent research has tested the Lévy flight hypothesis with empirical data, apparently finding Lévy flight search patterns in diverse species, from bacteria to humans. Is Lévy flight searching, therefore, a universal law? Do these studies stand up to closer scrutiny? This seminar will discuss these issues and will present new results from the movement analysis of electronically tagged pelagic predators, such as sharks, tuna and turtles, that offer themselves as particularly good models for testing these ideas.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.

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