Using a partial sum method and GPS tracking data to identify area restricted search by artisanal fishers at moored fish aggregating devices in the Commonwealth of Dominica. Academic Article uri icon


  • Foragers must often travel from a central place to exploit aggregations of prey. These patches can be identified behaviorally when a forager shifts from travel to area restricted search, identified by a decrease in speed and an increase in sinuosity of movement. Faster, more directed movement is associated with travel. Differentiating foraging behavior at patches from travel to patches is important for a variety of research questions and has now been made easier by the advent of small, GPS devices that can track forager movement with high resolution. In the summer and fall of 2012, movement data were collected from GPS devices placed on foraging trips originating in the artisanal fishing village of Desa Ikan (pseudonym), on the east coast of the Caribbean island nation of the Commonwealth Dominica. Moored FADs are human-made structures anchored to the ocean floor with fish attraction material on or near the surface designed to effectively create a resource patch. The ultimate goal of the research is to understand how property rights are emerging after the introduction of fish aggregating device (FAD) technology at the site in 1999. This paper reports on research to identify area-restricted search foraging behavior at FAD patches. For 22 foraging trips simultaneous behavioral observations were made to ground-truth the GPS movement data. Using a cumulative sum method, area restricted search was identified as negative deviations from the mean travel speed and the method was able to correctly identify FAD patches in every case.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

author list (cited authors)

  • Alvard, M., Carlson, D., & McGaffey, E.

citation count

  • 16

editor list (cited editors)

  • Sakamoto, K. Q.

publication date

  • February 2015