Thomas Mueller

Post-doctoral Researcher



I seek to better understand the underlying behavioral mechanisms of ungulate movement strategies that can be observed under different scenarios of environmental predictability. Animal movements are usually motivated by a need for resources. Among ungulates, some species (e.g., white-tailed deer) have generally abundant and well-dispersed resources and are considered range-residents, whereas other species (e.g., caribou, wildebeest), whose resources are predictably distributed in different parts of their range at different times, are migratory. However, large-scale, long-range movements that occur when resource distributions are fundamentally unpredictable both temporally and spatially have so far received little attention. These movements could be called nomadism and one striking example can be observed in Mongolian gazelles, which are the most important wild ungulate in one of the last intact temperate grassland ecosystem on the planet.

My project seeks to develop computer models that simulate and link behavioral movement mechanisms which can be either based on memory, perceptual cues or triggered by environmental factors. It explores their efficiency under different scenarios of resource distributions across time and space. Finally it tries to integrate empirical data on resource distributions as well as movements of moving animals, such as satellite data on primary productivity and satellite tracking data of Mongolian gazelles.

Publications *

  • Mueller T., K. A. Olson, G. Dressler, P. Leimgruber, T. K. Fuller, C. Nicolson, A. J. Novaro, M. J. Bolgeri, D. Wattles, S. DeStefano, and W. F. Fagan. How landscape dynamics link individual- to population-level movement patterns: a multispecies comparison of ungulate relocation data. In press at Global Ecology and Biogeography.
  • Mueller T., W.F. Fagan, and V. Grimm. 2011. Integrating individual search and navigation behaviors in mechanistic movement models. Theoretical Ecology 4: 341-355.abstract
  • Mueller T.,N. Selva, E. Pugacewicz, and E. Prins. 2009. Scale sensitive landscape complementation determines habitat suitability for a territorial generalist. Ecography 32: 345-353.
  • Leimgruber P., B. Senior, Uga, Myint Aung, T. Mueller, C. Wemmer, and J. D. Ballou. 2008. Modeling population viability of captive elephants in Myanmar (Burma): implications for wild populations. Animal Conservation 11: 198-205.
  • Mueller, T. and W.F. Fagan. 2008. Search and navigation in dynamic environments - from individual behaviors to population distributions. Oikos 117: 654-664. pdf PDF
  • Mueller T., K. Olson, T.K. Fuller , G.B. Schaller, M.G. Murray, and P. Leimgruber. 2007. In search of forage: predicting dynamic habitats of Mongolian gazelles using satellite-based estimates of vegetation productivity. Journal of Applied Ecology, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2007.01371.x pdf PDF
  • Strand H., P. Leimgruber, and T. Mueller. 2007. Chapter 5. Trends in Selected Biomes, Habitats, and Ecosystems: Dry and Sub-humid Lands. pp. 67-86 in: Strand H, R. Höft , J. Strittholt, N. Horning, L. Miles, and E. Fosnight (eds) in: Sourcebook on Remote Sensing and Biodiversity Indicators. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Montreal.
  • Leimgruber P., D. S. Kelly, M. K. Steininger, J. Brunner, T. Mueller, and M. A. Songer. 2006.  Forest cover change patterns in Myanmar (Burma) 1990-2000. Environmental Conservation 32:356-364.
  • Roesner S., N. Selva, T. Mueller, E. Pugacewicz, and F. Laudet. 2005. Raven Corvus corax ecology in a primeval temperate forest. in: Jerzak, L.; Kavanagh, B.P. & P. Tryjanowski (eds): Ptaki krukowate Polski [Corvids of Poland]. - Bogucki Wyd. Nauk., Poznañ.
  • Roesner S. and T. Mueller. 2001. Der Kolkrabe (Corvus corax) in Hessen und Rheinland-Pfalz - Ausrottung, Wiederbesiedlung und Aktueller Bestand. Charadrius 3: 109-112.
  • Mueller T. and S. Roesner.  2000. Der Kolkrabe (Corvus corax) in Hessen -Wiederbesiedlung und Bestandsentwicklung. Vogel und Umwelt, 11, 3-11.

Ph.D., University of Maryland 2008


From the gallery

herd of gazelles gazelle calf