Animal movement is a mechanistic element of ecological processes - the unidirectional long-term movement of individuals, defined as dispersal, does not simply affect species distributions as it also impacts individual fitness, population dynamics and genetics. As such, ecologists from various fields have strived to find the fundamental drivers of animal dispersal; do animals differ in their dispersal propensities, or do they move at random? Why do animals leave seemingly "optimal" habitats? Using 18 years of toad movements along a narrow sandspit, I am testing theoretical dispersal concepts as part of my PhD thesis to optimally suggest a new view for the dispersal phenomenon.
My undergraduate honours thesis in Pedro Peres-Neto's lab at Concordia University consisted of modelling niche availability for habitat affinity. We did so by creating a latent model that relates the observed species’ presence to environmental variables that are otherwise difficult to measure individually.