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Applicability of Benford’s law to movement data of red deer in game enclosures

Project Leader
Griesberger Paul, BOKU Project Leader
Duration:
01.01.2022-01.01.2024
Type of Research
Basic Research
Staff
Brunner Norbert, Project Staff
BOKU Research Units
Institute of Mathematics
Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management
Funded by
Eigenfinanzierung - Department für Integrative Biologie und Biodiversitätsforschung, Austria
Abstract
This project is a cooperation between the Institute of Mathematic and the Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game Management to be able to analyze red deer telemetry data sets in game reserves with respect to Benford's law. This law states that in certain data sets, the frequency of leading digits is not evenly distributed, but that "1" is most often first, followed by "2" and so on. According to Benford, the leading digit "9" has the lowest probability of occurrence.

It is well known in economics that many data sets (e.g., digital tax audit, driving records) follow Benford's Law. Within a master thesis, the two mentioned institutes investigated whether this law can also be applied to wildlife ecology data sets. Specifically, position changes within a red deer telemetry data set were analyzed. The results were astounding! It was shown that apparently certain wildlife ecology data sets also follow a Benford-like distribution, making new applications of this law conceivable.

Since the occurrence of the Benford distribution in movement data of free-ranging red deer is by no means self-evident, the aim of this project is to investigate whether this distribution can also be found in movement data of red deer that are restricted in their use of space to a specific area (game enclosure). The goal is to investigate telemetric data of radio-collared red deer in three different sized game enclosures (130 ha, 328 ha, 1100 ha) and to compare this data with an already existing data set of free-ranging red deer. The following research question will be investigated.

"Are there differences in the frequency of leading digits in telemetric data sets between free-ranging red deer and red deer living in a confined area?
Keywords
Mathematics; Biology;
Benford; movement data; red deer; telemetry; game enclosures;
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