Why Wildebeest are King

If you’ve ever been to the Serengeti, you’ve likely seen thousands of wildebeest tirelessly following nutrient gradients to meet energy demands. With approximately 1.3 million individuals across the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem, wildebeest outnumber all other large mammals combined (no kidding) and are recognized as a keystone species, affecting nearly every aspect of the ecosystem, including local biodiversity, wildlife intensity, grassland-tree dynamics, food web structure, and local economies.

This species and the ancient landscape that supports them, however, is in jeopardy. Check out the December 2021 edition of National Geographic to get a thorough view of the importance of wildebeest to the Serengeti, replete with maps, data, and a full discussion of the factors impacting their survival. It’s the first time in 30 years that National Geographic has a entire magazine devoted to the Serengeti, with the online version providing additional dynamic maps to put the migration in even greater perspective.

If you look at the maps closely…..I mean really closely…..you’ll see my and Dr Lacey Hughey‘s name alongside our friends and colleagues for our contribution to the editing and analysis process. Amazing to see my PhD data collected at Colorado State University from 2010-2013 annotated by professional cartographers. Thanks Nat Geo! A true bucket list achievement for me.

Also makes a great Christmas gift! Happy reading.

Annotating Animal Movement Data

If you have animal movement data and want to free your inner coder, check out our latest paper in Remote Sensing entitled “Enhancing Animal Movement Analyses: Spatiotemporal Matching of Animal Positions with Remotely Sensed Data Using Google Earth Engine and R” to dynamically extract a suite of remote sensing datasets at individual GPS point observations. Importantly, the code shows you how to match the spatio-temporal dynamics of your datasets. The manuscript is open access, with detailed code on how to conduct the analysis on your own. Congratulations to SCBI post-doctoral researcher Ramiro Crego, University of Glasgow graduate student Majaliwa Masolele, and SCBI ecologist Grant Connette for this great contribution.