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A Bayesian hidden Markov model for telemetry data

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Abstract:

We introduce a new multivariate circular linear distribution suitable for modeling direction and speed in (multiple) animal movement data. To properly account for specific data features, such as heterogeneity and time dependence, a hidden Markov model is used. Parameters are estimated under a Bayesian framework and we provide computational details to implement the Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm. The proposed model is applied to a dataset of six free-ranging Maremma Sheepdogs. Its predictive performance, as well as the interpretability of the results, are compared to those given by hidden Markov models built on all the combinations of von Mises (circular), wrapped Cauchy (circular), gamma (linear) and Weibull (linear) distributions

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