Working Group

Movement Ecology

From basic everyday foraging behaviors to extraordinary long-distance migrations: animal movements are essential for species survival, ecosystem functioning, and biodiversity.

Our group studies theoretical and applied aspects of movement- and wildlife ecology, from the behavioral underpinnings and social interactions to ecosystem functions and macro-ecological patterns. We are particularly interested in understanding the interactions between moving animals and their environment and the exceptional challenges that an increasing human footprint poses for movements of wildlife, which ultimately leads to the question of human-wildlife coexistence.

To that end, we pursue an integrated social-ecological research program to better understand human wildlife interactions and develop sustainable conservation recommendations.


Selected publications

Tucker, M. et al. (2018): Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements. Science, 359, 466-469.

Bracis, C. et al. (2017): Memory, not just perception, plays an important role in terrestrial mammalian migration. Proceedings B, 284, 20170449.

Teitelbaum, C.S. et al. (2016): Experience drives innovation of new migration patterns of whooping cranes in response to global change. Nature Communications, 7,12793.



Prof. Dr. Thomas Müller
Professor for Movement Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation, Head of Research Group 'Movement Ecology'

Research interests

From basic everyday foraging behaviors to extraordinary long-distance migrations: animal movements are important for species survival, ecosystem functioning, and biodiversity. My research bridges across theoretical and applied aspects of movement ecology, from the behavioral underpinnings and social interactions to ecosystem functions and macro-ecological patterns. I am particular interested in studying the exceptional challenges that an increasing human footprint poses for movements of wildlife, which ultimately leads to the question of human wildlife coexistence. To that end, I pursue an integrated social-ecological research program to better understand human wildlife interactions and develop sustainable conservation recommendations.

External links

List of publications on Google Scholar

Selected publications

Tucker, M. , … , and T.Mueller. 2018.  Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements. Science, 359, 466-469.

Bracis C. and T. Mueller. 2017. Memory, not just perception, plays an important role in terrestrial mammalian migration. Proceedings B, 284, 20170449.

Teitelbaum C.S., S. Converse, W. Fagan, K. Böhning-Gaese, R. B. O’Hara, A. Lacy, and T. Mueller. 2016. Experience drives innovation of new migration patterns of whooping cranes in response to global change. Nature Communications, 7,12793.

Teitelbaum C.S., W.F. Fagan, C.H. Fleming, G. Dressler, J.M. Calabrese, P. Leimgruber, and T. Mueller. 2015. How far to go? Determinants of migration distance in land mammals. Ecology Letters, 18, 545–552.

Mueller T., R. B. O’Hara, S. J. Converse, R.P. Urbanek, W. F. Fagan. 2013. Social Learning of Migratory Performance. Science, 341, 999-1002.
 featured among others in:
 National Geographic

Dr. Ugo Arbieu
Postdoctoral Researcher, Member of Research Group 'Movement Ecology'

Research interests

I have a strong interest in large mammals and particularly large carnivores. The conservation of these animals requires integrative perspectives ranging from genetics, population and movement ecology to understand their ecology, as well as psychology, social and political sciences to address potential conflicts with human societies. Research on social-ecological systems provides frameworks to bring these formerly separate scientific domains together.
My DFG-funded PhD project with Prof. K. Böhning-Gaese focused on wildlife tourism as a cultural ecosystem service, with a specific emphasis on large mammal diversity in four protected areas of Southern Africa (Etosha National Park, Chobe National Park, Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park).
My current Senckenberg Postdoc project focusses on the social-ecological implications of the wolf (Canis lupus) returning to Germany. I use methods from ecological and social sciences to understand how wolves and people can coexist in human-dominated landscapes, and hopefully provide solutions for long-term and sustainable coexistence. In 2019, we are starting the Leibniz-funded Transfer Project KnowWolf “Transfer of evidence-based and co-produced Knowledge for Human-Wolf Coexistence” (3 years), as a way to reduce the gap between Science and Society on the topic of human-wolf coexistence.


Selected publications

Arbieu, U., Grünewald, C., Martín-López, B., Schleuning, M., & Böhning-Gaese, K. Large mammal diversity matters for wildlife tourism in Southern African Protected Areas: Insights for management. Ecosystem Services, in press. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.11.006

Balvanera, P., Calderón-Contreras, R., Castro, A.J., Felipe-Lucia, M.R., Geijzendorffer, I.R., Jacobs, S., Martín-López, B., Arbieu, U., Ifejika Speranza, C., Locatelli, B., Pérez Harguindeguy, N., Ruiz Mercado, I., Spierenburg, M.J., Vallet, A., Lynes, L. & Gillson, L. (2017) Interconnected place-based social–ecological research can inform global sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 29, 1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cosust.2017.09.005

Arbieu, U., Grünewald, C., Schleuning, M. & Böhning-Gaese, K. (2017) The importance of vegetation density for tourists’ wildlife viewing experience and satisfaction in African savannah ecosystems. PLoS ONE, e0185793. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185793

Arbieu, U., Grünewald, C., Martín-López, B., Schleuning, M. & Böhning-Gaese, K. (2017) Mismatches between supply and demand in wildlife tourism: insights for assessing cultural ecosystem services. Ecological Indicators, 78, 282-291. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2017.03.035

Dr. Anne Hertel
Postdoctoral Researcher, Member of Research Group 'Movement Ecology'

Research interests

My research is at the interface between behavioral ecology, spatial ecology, and wildlife biology. I have previously worked on the effects of spatial and temporal variation in food abundance and hunting disturbance on behavior and life histories of Scandinavian brown bears. For my current project I am jointly working with the movement ecology group here in Frankfurt and the Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project on consistent individual variation in the behavior of brown bears. It particularly interests me, to which degree such “bear personalities” are formed by maternal learning, individual learning, genetic relatedness and variation in the environment.

External links
Full list of publications on Google Scholar


Recent publications

Lodberg-Holm HK, Gelink HW, Hertel AG, Swenson JE, Steyaert SMJG (2019): Brown bears track bilberry phenology through a landscape of risk. Basic and Applied Ecology. doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2018.12.001

Hertel AG, Zedrosser A, Kindberg J, Langvall O, Swenson JE (2019): Fluctuating Mast Production Does not Drive Scandinavian Brown Bear Behavior. Journal of Wildlife Managementdoi: 10.1002/jwmg.21619

Hertel AG, Leclerc M, Warren D, Pelletier F, Zedrosser A, Mueller T (2019): Don’t poke the bear: Using tracking data to quantify behavioural syndromes in elusive wildlife. Animal Behaviourdoi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.11.008

Hertel AG, Bischof R, Langval O, Mysterud A, Kindberg J, Swenson JE, Zedrosser A (2018): Berry production drives bottom-up effects on body mass and reproductive success in an omnivore. Oikos 127:197-207, doi: 10.1007/s00265-016-2106-2

Frank SC, Ordiz A, Gosselin J, Hertel AG et al. (2017): Indirect effect of bear hunting: A review from Scandinavia. Ursus 29:150-165, doi: 10.2192/URSU-D-16-00028.1

Lisa Lehnen
Dr. Lisa Lehnen
PostDoc, Member of Research Group 'Movement Ecology'

Research interests

My main research interest is the conservation of animal species and populations, with a strong focus on social, ecological, and genetic aspects of range shift and range (re )expansion. In particular, I am aiming at the development of integrative conservation strategies. During my PhD, I investigated ecological and genetic factors determining re-colonization success of a protected bat species in Central Germany, closely collaborating with local NGOs (Interessengemeinschaft Fledermausschutz und –forschung Thüringen e.V.) and both local and international research institutions (Nachtaktiv – Biologen für Fledermausforschung, Erfurt, Germany; INRA, Rennes, France). My current Senckenberg Postdoc project is directed at conservation challenges associated with the grey wolf (Canis lupus) recolonizing human dominated regions in Germany and other European countries. In particular, I seek to elucidate individual and cultural factors shaping human perception of and attitudes towards wildlife, especially wolves. Because perceptions and attitudes may depend greatly on knowledge, one objective is to identify and overcome barriers to knowledge transfer and close the gap between science and society. For this purpose, I am developing a tablet application for horizontal knowledge transfer in the framework of the Leibniz-funded project KnowWolf (“Transfer of evidence-based and co-produced Knowledge for Human-Wolf Coexistence”). Social and natural scientists, local wolf information centers, museums, and other public institutions collaborate within this project to maximize the outreach, impact, and sustainability of wolf conservation efforts.

Jan, P.-L.*, Lehnen, L.*, Besnard, A.-L., Kerth, G., Biedermann, M., Schorcht, W., Petit, E. J.†, Le Gouar, P.†, Puechmaille, S. J.† (2019). Range expansion is associated with increased survival and fecundity in a long-lived bat species. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 286(1906), 20190384. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2019.0384 (* Equal contribution; † equal contribution)

Lehnen, L., Schorcht, W., Karst, I., Biedermann, M., Kerth, G., & Puechmaille, S. J. (2018). Using Approximate Bayesian Computation to infer sex ratios from acoustic data. PLOS ONE, 13(6), e0199428. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199428

Zarzoso‐Lacoste, D.*, Jan, P.*, Lehnen, L., Girard, T., Besnard, A., Puechmaille, S. J., & Petit, E. J. (2018). Combining noninvasive genetics and a new mammalian sex‐linked marker provides new tools to investigate population size, structure and individual behaviour: An application to bats. Molecular Ecology Resources, 18(2), 217–228. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12727 (*Equal contribution)

Nandintsetseg Dejid
Ph.D. Student, Member of Research Group 'Movement Ecology'

Research interests

My research interests focus on habitat selection and movement ecology of large mammalian herbivores. I am studying their long-distance movement behaviour and the effect of infrastructure-driven development on these movements in desert, semi-desert and steppe ecosystems in Mongolia. Mongolia has some of the largest remaining grassland and desert ecosystems that are critical habitat for khulan (Equus hemionus), goitered gazelles (Gazella subgutturosa) and Mongolian gazelles (Procapra gutturosa). In the past decade, however, large-scale mining projects for coal, copper and gold as well as infrastructure-based economic development projects have emerged in Mongolia’s drylands. These developments often pose barriers to animal movements and threaten their survival. I aim to better understand how mammalian herbivores react to barriers and how the detrimental effects of anthropgenic develoments in one of the last big migration systems can be mitigated.


Tucker, M.A.,…, Nandintsetseg, D.,…, & Mueller, T. (115 authors). 2018. Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements. Science, 359:466-469

Nandintsetseg, D., Kaczensky, P., Ganbaatar, O., Leimgruber, P., Mueller, T., 2016. Spatiotemporal habitat dynamics of ungulates in unpredictable environments: The khulan (Equus hemionus) in the Mongolian Gobi desert as a case study. Biological Conservation 204, 313–321

Schoenecker, K.A., King, R.B., Nordquist, M.K., Nandintsetseg, D., Cao, Q., 2016. Habitat and Diet of Equids. In: Ransom, J.I and Kaczensky, P. Wild Equids: Ecology, managemment, and conservation. A book. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, pp. 41-57.

Batsaikhan, N., Buuveibaatar, B., Chimed, B., Enkhtuya, O., Galbrakh, D., Ganbaatar, O., Lkhagvasuren, B., Nandintsetseg, D., Berger, J., Calabrese, J.M., Edwards, A.E., Fagan, W.F., Fuller, T.K., Heiner, M., Ito, T.Y., Kaczensky, P., Leimgruber, P., Lushchekina, A., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Mueller, T., Murray, M.G., Olson, K.A., Reading, R., Schaller, G.B., Stubbe, A., Stubbe, M., Walzer, C., Von Wehrden, H., Whitten, T., 2014. Conserving the World’s Finest Grassland Amidst Ambitious National Development. Conservation Biology 0, 1–4

Theresa Stratmann
Ph.D. Student, Member of Research Group 'Movement Ecology'

Research interests

y research interest is in conservation biology and how we can use math and modeling to make better conservation decisions. For my masters I used Bog Turtles (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) as a case study for how we can resource efficiently locate and survey for rare and elusive species. This work combined species distribution modeling and intensive field work in close collaboration with state wildlife agencies in the United States to give me first-hand experience in what it means to conserve species on-the-ground. For my PhD I am changing my focus to examining how movement ability affects population carrying capacity in mobile animals. My study system will be the eastern steppe of Mongolia and the nomadic Mongolian Gazelles (Procapra gutturosa). We will be collaborating with others at SBiK-F to design an individual based model based on the Mongolian system which will allow us to ask questions about carrying capacity but also nonequilibrium/equilibrium rangeland dynamics.

B.S. Ecology, Minor Mathematics, summa cum laude, 
The University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA, 
(Lab of Dr. John Maerz: click here)

M.S. Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, 
Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA, 
(Lab of Dr. Kyle Barrett: click here)


Stratmann, T., T. Floyd, and K. Barrett (2016): Floating rare habitat for a rare species: evaluation of a species distribution model for Bog Turtles ( Glyptemys muhlenbergii) in the southeastern United States. Herpetological Conservation and Biology. 11(1): 199-213.

Munscher, E., A. Walde, T. Stratmann, and B. Butterfield (2015): Exceptional Growth Rates Observed in Immature Pseudemys from a Protected Spring System in Florida. Herpetology Notes. 8: 133-140.

Pierson, T., T. Stratmann, E. White, A. Clause, C. Carter, M. Herr, A. Jenkins, H. Vogel, M. Knoerr, and B. Folt (2014): New County Records of Amphibians and Reptiles Resulting from a Bioblitz Competition in North-Central Georgia, USA. Herpetological Review. 45(2): 296-297.

Floyd, T.M., T.S.M. Stratmann, G.J. Brown, III, and C.S. Pfaff (2013): Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis. Terrestrial Movement. Herpetological Review. 44:651.

Stratmann, T. and S. Pfaff (2011): Geographic Distribution Note for Lampropeltis elapsoides. Herpetological Review. 42(4):572-573.


Research interests

I have a strong interest in wildlife biology, behavioral ecology and conservation of large mammals and especially of large carnivores. I am based at the LUPUS Institute – the German Institute for Wolf monitoring and research which I co-founded together with my colleague Gesa Kluth. Since 2002 I am scientifically following and documenting the recovery of wolves in Germany. With this PhD study at the movement ecology group in Frankfurt I aim to give a profound scientific description of the population recovery, especially on the re-colonization process of wolves in Germany, the dispersal and pack formation of this new population, and on the territory size, movement and activity of wolves in the highly human dominated landscape of Germany. The study will hopefully contribute to a better understanding of this controversial carnivore. I am a member of the Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe (, a species specialist group of the IUCN.

External Links

Ilka Reinhardt at ResearchGate (incl. full list of publications)

Wolf Monitoring in Germany

Selected publications

Lesnjak, I., Heckmann, I., Heitlinger, E., Szentiks, C. A., Jarausch, A., Reinhardt, I., Kluth, G., Hofer, H. and O. Krone (2017): Population expansion and individual age effect endoparasite richness and diversity in a recolonizing large carnivore population. Scientific reports 7:41730. doi: 10.1038/srep41730

Reinhardt, I., Kluth, G., Nowak, S. & R. Myslajek (2015): Standards for the monitoring of the Central European wolf population in Germany and Poland. BfN-Skripten 398.

Boitani, L., F. Alvarez, O. Anders, H. Andren, E. Avanzinelli, V. Balys, J. C. Blanco, U. Breitenmoser, G. Chapron, P. Ciucci, A. Dutsov, C. Groff, D. Huber, O. Ionescu, F. Knauer, I. Kojola, J. Kubala, M. Kutal, J. Linnell, A. Majic, P. Mannil, R. Manz, F. Marucco, D. Melovski, A. Molinari, H. Norberg, S. Nowak, J. Ozolins, S. Palazon, H. Potocnik, P.-Y. Quenette, I. Reinhardt, R. Rigg, N. Selva, A. Sergiel, M. Shkvyria, J. Swenson, A. Trajce, M. Von Arx, M. Wolfl, U. Wotschikowsky, D. Zlatanova (2014): Key actions for Large Carnivore populations in Europe. Institute of Applied Ecology (Rome, Italy). Report to DG Environment, European Commission, Bruxelles. Contract no. 07.0307/2013/654446/SER/B3.

Chapron, G., Kaczensky, P., Linnell, J.D.C., von Arx, M., Huber, D., Andrén, H., López-Bao, J.V., Adamec, M., Álvares, F., Anders, O. Balciauskas, L., Balys, V., Bedo, P., Bego, F., Blanco, J.C., Breitenmoser, U., Brøseth, H., Bufka, L., Bunikyte, R., Ciucci, P., Dutsov, A., Engleder, T., Fuxjäger, C., Groff, C., Heltai, M., Holmala, K., Hoxha, B., Yorgos, I., Ionescu, O., Ivanov, G., Jeremić, J., Jerina, K., Kluth, G. Knauer, F., Kojola, I., Kos, I., Krofel, M., Kubala, J., Kunovac, S., Kusak, J., Kutal, M., Mannil, P., Manz, R., Marboutin, E., Marucco, F., Melovski, D., Mersini, K. Mertzanis, Y., Mysłajek, R.W., Nowak, S., Odden, j., Ozolins, J., Palomero, G., Paunovic, M., Persson, J., Potočnik, H., Quenette, P-Y., Rauer, G., Reinhardt, I., Rigg, R., Ryser, A., Salvatori, V., Skrbinšek, T., Skrbinšek-Majić, A., Stojanov, A., Swenson, J.E., Trajçe, A., Tzingarska-Sedefcheva, E., Váňa, M., Veeroja, R., Wölfl, M., Wölfl, S., Zimmermann, F., Zlatanova, D. & L. Boitani (2014): Recovery of large carnivores in Europe ’s modern human-dominated landscapes. Science. VOL 346 ISSUE 6216. S. 1517-1519. doi: 10.1126/science.1257553

Reinhardt, I., Rauer, J., Kluth, G., Kaczensky, P., Knauer, F. & U. Wotschikowsky (2012): Livestock protection methods applicable for Germany – a Country newly recolonized by wolves. Hystrix, It. J. Mammdoi: 10.4404/hystrix-23.1-4555

David O'Connor
Ph.D. Student, Member of Research Group 'Movement Ecology'

Research interests

My PhD research on the spatial and movement ecology of giraffe, with a special focus on the reticulated giraffe (Giraffa reticulata). Using aerial and tracking data to understand the factors driving giraffe habitat occupancy, preferences, seasonal movements, and co-existence dynamics with humans and livestock. In addition to forwarding giraffe science, we hope this research will inform giraffe conservation and land protection decisions and community-led conservation efforts.

I am based in San Diego, California, USA where I am employed as a researcher with the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, where in addition to co-leading the collaborative community based Twiga Walinzi reticulated giraffe conservation and multi-disciplinary socio-ecological research program in northern Kenya, I am also involved in leopard (Panthera pardus) and savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana) conservation and research. I work in SE Asia as part of a team with local partners on research to address the illegal wildlife trade in bears and bear parts, saiga horn and tiger parts, as well beginning to developing research to inform a potential Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) rewilding effort in northern Laos. More recently, we have been supporting new research on former working elephants in Myanmar for possible re-introduction. Lastly I support saiga (Saiga tatarica) conservation and education efforts in Uzbekistan and southern Russia. I am a member of the IUCN Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, and the IUCN Bear Specialist Group.

External links

David O’Connor at ResearchGate (incl. full list of publications)


Recent publications

Muneza, A., Doherty, J.B., Hussein Ali, A., Fennessy, J., Marais, A., O’Connor, D. & Wube, T. (2018): Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. reticulata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018 e.T88420717A88420720.

Davis, E., D. O’Connor, B. Crudge, A. Carignan, J. Glickman, C. Browne-Nunez, M. Hunt (2016): Understanding public perceptions and motivations around bear part use: A study in northern Laos of attitudes of Chinese tourists and Lao PDR nationals. Biological Conservation 203: 282-289.

Crudge, B., D. O’Connor, M. Hunt, E. Davis, and C. Browne-Nuñez (2016): Groundwork for effective conservation education: an example of in situ and ex situ collaboration in South East Asia. International Zoo Yearbook, 50: 1748-1090.

O’Connor, D.A., B. Butt, and J.B. Foufopoulos (2016): Mapping the ecological footprint of large livestock overlapping with wildlife in Kenyan pastoralist landscapes. African Journal of Ecology, 54(1):114-117. [Published online October 2015] 

O’Connor, D., B. Crudge, E. Davis, M. Hunt, J. Harris, C. Browne-Nuñez, K Pesei, and E. Blint (2015): Understanding attitudes and usage of wild bear parts in Laos and Cambodia: A preliminary study using citizen scientists. Cambodian Journal of Natural History, 1: 67-68.

Kathrin Helsper
Master Student
Philipp Mendgen
Master Student
Eileen Bauer
Bachelor Student


Chloe Bracis
former Postdoctoral Researcher
Felix Günther
former Masters Student
Dr. Marjorie Sorensen
former Postdoctoral Researcher
Claire Teitelbaum
former Student
Dr. Marlee Tucker
former Postdoctoral Researcher