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Review article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Ponds as experimental arenas for studying animal movement: current research and future prospects

Bronmark, Christer; Hellstrom, Gustav; Baktoft, Henrik; Hansson, Lars-Anders; Mccallum, Erin S.; Nilsson, P. Anders; Skov, Christian; Brodin, Tomas; Hulthen, Kaj


Animal movement is a multifaceted process that occurs for multiple reasons with powerful consequences for food web and ecosystem dynamics. New paradigms and technical innovations have recently pervaded the field, providing increasingly powerful means to deliver fine-scale movement data, attracting renewed interest. Specifically in the aquatic environment, tracking with acoustic telemetry now provides integral spatiotemporal information to follow individual movements in the wild. Yet, this technology also holds great promise for experimental studies, enhancing our ability to truly establish cause-and-effect relationships. Here, we argue that ponds with well-defined borders (i.e. "islands in a sea of land") are particularly well suited for this purpose. To support our argument, we also discuss recent experiences from studies conducted in an innovative experimental infrastructure, composed of replicated ponds equipped with modern aquatic telemetry systems that allow for unparalleled insights into the movement patterns of individual animals.


Lakes; Ponds; Movement ecology; Animal movement; Individual movement; Acoustic telemetry; Whole-pond telemetry studies; Experimental approaches; Hypothesis testing; Cause-and-effect relationships

Published in

Movement Ecology
2023, Volume: 11, article number: 68
Publisher: BMC