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Tal Avgar

I am a wildlife behavioral ecologist with particular interests in animal movement and spatial aspects of trophic interactions and cognitive ecology.

Animal space-use patterns link the behavioral ecology of individuals with population and community level processes and are consequently of vital importance for management and conservation. Despite much progress in statistical characterization of animal movement and habitat associations, our ability to predict space-use across altered or novel landscapes is often limited by a relatively poor understanding of the underlying behavioral processes. Indeed, where explicit behavioral mechanisms were incorporated into mathematical space-use models, outstanding predictive performances were obtained. To date, this powerful approach has been limited to territorial or central-place foragers, where movement is biased by one or few localities (e.g., a nesting site or scent-marks). Otherwise, the emergence of stable space-use patterns has been theoretically attributed to memory use, but this notion is yet to be incorporated into predictive models. The primary goal of my current research is to develop, test and implement rigorous techniques for integrating critical behavioral and cognitive processes in predicting space-use patterns of wide-ranging animals.