The Ecology of Human Mobility

Trends Ecol Evol. 2017 Mar;32(3):198-210. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2016.12.006. Epub 2017 Feb 2.


Mobile phones and other geolocated devices have produced unprecedented volumes of data on human movement. Analysis of pooled individual human trajectories using big data approaches has revealed a wealth of emergent features that have ecological parallels in animals across a diverse array of phenomena including commuting, epidemics, the spread of innovations and culture, and collective behaviour. Movement ecology, which explores how animals cope with and optimize variability in resources, has the potential to provide a theoretical framework to aid an understanding of human mobility and its impacts on ecosystems. In turn, big data on human movement can be explored in the context of animal movement ecology to provide solutions for urgent conservation problems and management challenges.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Ecology*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Epidemics
  • Human Migration*
  • Humans
  • Transportation*