More information about CAnMove and the research activities within the programme can be found at:


måndag 25 maj 2009

Special feature on Animal Flight

Dear CAnMovians!
The highly relevant journal Experiments in Fluids has just published a special feature issue on Animal Flight, which contains a multitude on cutting edge papers on animal flight. Among them are two papers from the CAnMove Flight Lab, one on analytical approaches for analyzing PIV(PIV = Particle Image Velocimetry) data and one on time resolved wakes from two species of bats flying in the wind tunnel (using our new high speed stereo PIV system). PIV has become a common approach of analyzing the aerodynamic "footprints" of flying animals, as the wake contains information about the magnitude and time-history of the aerodynamic forces generated by the flapping wings. The special feature also contains papers from other research groups, including other bats, hummingbirds, as well as more engineering oriented studies of heaving airfoils (but still of interest to the aerodynamics of animal flight). Experiments in Fluids focuses in new or improved methods of measuring flow properties, which captures the essence of research progress, i.e. the development of new techniques of observing or measuring nature, and is therefore a journal at the top of our list!

CANMOVE-meeting Tuesday 26 May at 15.00

Tomorrow (Tuesday 26 May 2009), our two recently hired research engineers Johan Bäckman and Arne Andersson will introduce themselves and tell about their background and future plans.

Johan and Anders have been hired by CANMOVE to help researchers active in this consortium to develop new technological solutions to the problems of marking individuals, particularly small organisms like Daphnia, insect or other small invertebrates.

Thus, our two new highly qualified research engineers will be helpful to all senior researchers, postdocs and Ph.D.-students which are directly or indirectly associated with CANMOVE.

Time: Tuesday 26 May 2009, at 15.00
Where: "Tanken" (seminar room for the Limnology Section, at 1st floor in the Ecology Building).

tisdag 19 maj 2009

SATO report VII

Georgetown, Ascension Island 2009-05-09

Time to leave Ascension for this time. Field work has gone very well and we now have three out of five turtles on their way migrating to Brazil. Two is still in the waters near to Ascension Island, most probably waiting for another nesting attempt, so their first departure will be expected in two weeks time. We did have a bit of a size variation in the turtles we selected to deploy with transmitters, and the smallest one was the last one to be fitted with a transmitter and had a 109 cm long carapace. The largest ones were 10 cm longer, and had a very impressive size. Ascension Green turtles are the largest of its kind. The tracks are now visible at: seaturtle.org (search under TrackingSATO South Atlantic Turtle Odyssey) and you may sign up to follow the turtles’ migration continuously while the transmitters are still working. Three of the turtles are now far in their migration, while two turtles still remain near the island. Probably these two turtles are re-nesting at least one more time before the migration will start.


SATO report VI

Georgetown, Ascension Island 2009-05-09

Brendan Godley and Annette Broderick and their co-workers have been studying the Ascension Island green turtles intensely for the last 10 years, and in collaboration with the local conservation office and volunteers at the Island (Jacquie) the breeding turtles have been monitored at some of the major beaches, and in particular at Long Beach. Interestingly the population of green turtles at Ascension Island is increasing in numbers – so very good news! Please, consult the following paper for more information: Broderick et al. (2006) Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 15, 21-26.


fredag 8 maj 2009

Ascension Island - SATO report V

Georgetown, Ascension Island 2009-05-08

This morning I saw many turtle eggs washed out of the sand on Long beach. The high water and rough sea has opened up the nests closest to the shore. The introduced myna starlings and the endemic Ascension frigate birds were foraging on what was left after the night’s turtle activities on the beach. The frigate birds mainly feed on the late hatchlings, either picking them on the beach or in the surface waters close to the beach. The myna starlings seem to be mainly foraging on the eggs, the yolk and some of the unhatched eggs. There is always some food to find on the beach for the birds.

Last night there were relatively few female green turtles nesting on the beach, and only one left covering her eggs at daybreak. She slowly moved to the shore and seemed to be rather tired after her hard work on land.


Ascension Island - SATO report IV

Georgetown, Ascension Island 2009-05-08

We have just been in the local school at Ascension Island, where Brendan was giving a talk about the turtles of Ascension Island for the school children. They all got excited and many of the children (but not all) in school have been to the beach to see the turtles laying their eggs. It is amazing how much interest the children show in the turtles and how exciting they find the thought that “their” turtles migrate as far as to Brazil and even to Uruguay. There the adults feed before they go back to lay eggs on Ascension, and the young ones grow up to become “teenagers” and more before they return to Ascension Island. Hopefully the kids from two schools will exchange letters and tell each other about themselves and their turtles. Kids and their interest can really connect across continents, and this makes me feel hope for the future with respect to the conservation of marine species like Ascension Island green turtles.


torsdag 7 maj 2009

Ascension Island - SATO report III

Georgetown, Ascension Island 2009-05-07

Last night we got an early night. The smallest of the five female green turtles (109 cm carapace length) got her transmitter attached while laying her eggs at Long Beach already at 22.00h. The beach was busy already by then and I could see the sand in the air by several digging females. They did not seem to be so worried about our presence, so I guess they were eager to get done with I all and thereafter leave the Island, as two of our turtles with GPS tags now have done. Some scattered hatchlings were aiming for the sea and the sea was much calmer than two nights ago.

Yesterday afternoon we had a walk to one of the ridges reaching east of the Island, and from there we had an excellent view of the Boatsman’s Island where all the frigate birds and other seas birds, like tropic birds, masked and brown boobies are breeding. On the top I could see the high numbers of frigate birds on their nests, while on the sides the boobies and tropic birds were having their nests. Fairy terns were flying by us at our viewpoint, aiming for the trees uphill Green Mountain where they nest at tree branches and on steep slopes.

Last news – flight delayed due to difficulties to land on The Falklands. They have snow down there. Hard to imagine when the temperature reaches +30 degrees C.


onsdag 6 maj 2009

CAnMove's "Physics"-workshop highlighted by Lund University

Some of you participated in CAnMove's recent workshop "The Biology-Physics Interface". This was an inspiring symposium - at least to me - which will hopefully create some future positive feedbacks and stimulate collaborations between biologists and physicists. Some very fast-growing areas are the cross-disciplinary fields of "bioinspiration" or "biomimetics", i. e. how we can learn from nature's solutions to create new human engineering applications and possibly also industrial products. A famous example are the lamellae of gecko's feet, which enable these animals to climb on flat surfaces without falling down, due to the Van Der Waals-forces that arise because of the small nano-structures of these lamellae (see picture above).

In the latest issue of the internal university news magazine LUM ("Lunds Universitet meddellar") there was a nice article featuring our workshop - which is of course good PR for our Linneaus-initiative. Also, today our workshop was also featured on the main web-site of Lund University, including one of my pictures of a beatiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo).

It is exactly this kind of visible outreach activities we must participate more in - if we wish to make CAnMove a succesful initiative in the future, that gets to be known outside of a small circle at the Department of Ecology. This is critical if we wish to attract additional postdocs from outside and ultimately also more financial resources and more research grants. This is one of many reasons why this new CAnMove-blogg has started. Please spread the information about this blogg to all you know who might be interested in our ongoing and planned future activities.

Ascension Island - SATO report II

Georgetown, Ascension Island, 2009-05-06

So we have been successfully attaching 3 GPS tags to female green turtles last night. The beach was much more active and the sea was calmer. At some point I guess we had between 15 and 20 females onshore at the same time laying their eggs or searching for a good spot. The females are sensitive to disturbances, so we must be quiet not to disrupt their attempts. Sometimes they do not seem to be happy with the site, so they move and start digging the body pit at another location. During egg-laying, they are calm and stay, and are not easily disturbed. This is the time we can attach the transmitters, but we must work fast. All worked out well, and the females were all large and beautiful. Just as we were waiting for the last turtle to return to the sea, heavy rains started to fall and we could happily return back to the Obsidian Hotel to get some sleep. Now just one GPS tag to put on and then this part of the mission is completed.

More later/

Ascension Island – SATO South Atlantic Turtle Odyssey

Georgetown, Ascension Island, 2009-05-05

After 11 years of absence I am back at Ascension Island, for field work on green turtles (Chelonia mydas). It is an interesting experience coming back, since there are many things that seem to have changed over this period. First the island appears to me much greener than last time I was here, thanks to recent rains making the endemic grass and other plants grow and flower, but also because of the Mexican thorn that is spreading across the island -up the slopes of the mountains as well as across some of the barren lava fields.

We (Brendan Godley at Exeter and I) are here to attach GPS transmitters to egg-laying female green turtles entering the shore at night to study their migration. Last night Jacquie (responsible for the turtles on the Island), Brendan and I attached the first transmitter to a female that took more than 6 hours to decide where to place her clutch. The recent night there has been many more females entering the shore, but last night the sea was unusually rough thanks to a storm somewhere at sea. Enormous waves where splashing in against the shore, creating a massive sound source – which I imagine could be heard far away for an animal having the necessary sensory capability.

Although the adult females were not frequent at the beach, the hatchlings were present in much greater numbers. This is the peak hatching time of the year and I could see at least 10 different nests hatching, in which the 70-100 young hatchlings were crawling out from the sand and thereafter were heading towards the sea in a long scattered plume of turtles eager to reach the water. On Long Beach near Georgetown where we are working, the hatchlings seem to be of high quality, since they were big and full of strength. They quickly crawled to the sea and left their typical signs in the sand. The full moon is helping us at the shore, and it was easy to see the new nests opening first with sleepy hatchlings slowly crawling at the surface, but after some stimulation from other turtles' movement, the nest was boiling of active hatchlings ready to leave for some 30 years at sea before they return to the Island as sexually mature adults. Magic!

I am looking forward to tonight’s field work!