Projects for Scientific Computing Scholars – O’Mara Lab

Animal movement: from muscles to migration

Where and how an animal moves give us a window into their life. Dr. O’Mara’s project tries to understand how changing social and resource environments shape the space use of animals. Does changing energy expenditure and foraging success change and when animals move in groups? Who do they choose to move with, and how can this influence the way that information moves through a population? Do these social networks change over seasons and location, or are they constant? How do aspects like body size and dietary diversity influence movement patterns? How do landscape features and weather shape movement decisions? How does a changing climate shape migration patterns?

Students will learn how to apply various movement models to high-resolution tracking data sets including GPS tracking, 3D accelerometry, radio telemetry, and remote sensing data. After becoming familiar with these kinds of data and what they can tell us, students will work with Dr. O’Mara and members of the Integrative Movement research group to develop a project to understand more about animals, their energy expenditure, and their environments.

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