Animal path integration: a model of positional uncertainty along tortuous paths

Cheung, Allen (2014) Animal path integration: a model of positional uncertainty along tortuous paths. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 341 17-33. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2013.09.031

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Author Cheung, Allen
Title Animal path integration: a model of positional uncertainty along tortuous paths
Journal name Journal of Theoretical Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-5193
Publication date 2014-01-21
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.jtbi.2013.09.031
Volume 341
Start page 17
End page 33
Total pages 17
Place of publication Camden, London, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
• Cumulative noise leads to uncertainty during the navigation by path integration (PI).
• Uncertainty is quantified exactly using a general trajectory and noise model.
• Path and noise properties both affect PI error, often nonlinearly.
• Highly tortuous paths reduce uncertainty during PI, with or without a compass.
• PI using a compass depends mainly on linear noise, without a compass on angular noise.

Exact closed form mathematical solutions are reported which quantify the dynamic uncertainty resulting from path integration (PI) along tortuous paths. Based on a correlated random walk model, the derived results quantify positional estimation error moments with and without a compass, in discrete and continuous time. Consistent with earlier studies on attempted straight-line navigation, using a compass significantly reduces the uncertainty during PI, making purely idiothetic PI biologically implausible except over short distances. Examples are used to illustrate the contributions of angular noise, linear noise and path tortuosity, under different conditions. Linear noise is shown to be relatively more important with a compass while angular noise is more important without. It is shown that increasing path tortuosity decreases positional uncertainty, true for long and short journeys, irrespective of whether a compass is used, or the level of noise. In contrast, reducing angular noise also reduces uncertainty, but only below some critical level of noise. Using canonical equations of PI, it is shown that polar PI using a compass accumulates uncertainty in a manner similar to Cartesian PI without a compass. Issues of data sampling bias and intermittent use of a compass are also considered for PI along tortuous paths.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 2 October 2013

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2014 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 8 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sat, 26 Oct 2013, 01:57:18 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute