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


tisdag 23 mars 2010

Special Issue on Magnetoreception (J Roy Soc Interface, April 6, 2010; 7)

A special issue published within the Journal of the Royal Society Interface presents a themed collection of papers on the topic "Magnetoreception". The recent issue aims to give an overview of current research activities in the interdisciplinary field of magnetoreception across different taxa, combining ample sub-disciplines within biology, chemistry, physics and material sciences.

Browse the table of content here, an overview of the contributing articles is given by Michael Winklhofer, subject editor of this special issue, in his introductory article: Magnetoreception; doi: 10.1098/rsif.2010.0010.focus.

måndag 22 mars 2010

AFLP and stable isotopes reveal complex migration pattern in European red admirals

In two recent papers a former PhD student at Lund University, now postdoc in Leiden, Oskar Brattström and co-authors have used stable isotopes and AFLP technique to study the structure of population composition and pattern of migration of European red admirals (Vanessa atalanta) across Europe.

Brattström, O., Åkesson, S. and Bensch, S. 2010. AFLP reveals cryptic population structure in migratory European red admirals Vanessa atalanta. Ecol. Entomol. 35: 48-52. // DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2009.01163.x

AFLP profiles showed significant differences between almost all sampled locations, but there was no clear pattern of isolation-by-distance. We found two distinct genotype clusters present in different frequencies at all study sites. The frequencies of these genotypic clusters varied significantly between years within the same site. Remarkably few individuals were of mixed ancestry, indicating that some isolating mechanisms are present. Twenty-seven mtDNA haplotypes were identified but they showed no geographic structure, nor were they related to either of the two genotype clusters identified in the AFLP data. Our results suggest long, but more complex migration movements between years for this species. Most field observations of migrating red admirals suggest a regular north–south migration pattern in Europe. Our data indicate both long-distance migration and a more variable pattern in orientation, since the composition of the two genotypic clusters shows dramatic variation between sites and years in the northern part of the distribution range.

Brattström, O., Bensch, S., Wassenaar, L. I., Hobson, K. and Åkesson, S. 2010. Understanding the migration ecology of European red admirals Vanessa atalanta using stable hydrogen isotopes. Ecography // doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2009.05748.x

We also show by using stable isotope that the variation in deuterium associated with a southwest-northeast gradient can be used to assign individual butterflies to general regions of origin. Tracking migratory movement of small animals with variable migration patterns is difficult with standard mark recapture methods or genetic analysis. We used stable hydrogen isotope (dD) measurements of wings from European red admirals Vanessa atalanta to study several aspects of this species’ migration. In the central part of southern Europe we found large differences in dD values between red admirals sampled in autumn and spring supporting the hypothesis that reproduction takes place in the Mediterranean region during winter. There was also an apparent influx to southern Europe in the spring of individuals with a more southerly origin, since many samples had higher dD values and similar to those expected from coastal areas of North Africa. We found a clear seasonal difference in the dD values of red admirals sampled in northern Europe. Spring migrants arriving in northern Europe generally had high dD values that indicated a southerly origin. In autumn, dD values suggested that red admirals were mostly from regions close to the sampling sites, but throughout the sampling period there were always individuals with dD values suggesting non-local origins. The migration pattern of this species is supposedly highly variable and plastic. dD differences between individuals in the western part of Europe were generally small making migratory patterns difficult to interpret. However, butterflies from western Europe were apparently isolated from those from north-eastern Europe, since dD values in the western region rarely corresponded to those of autumn migrants from the north-east. Use of dD data for inferring butterfly migration in Europe is complex, but our study showed that this technique can be used to help uncover previously unknown aspects of red admiral migration.

Birds, bats and insects

On Tuesday the 23 March 2010, Christoffer Johansson will deliver his docent lecture in the red room (ground floor), Ecology Building, at 10:00. Don't miss this unique opportunity to get a young scientists view on his research field - animal locomotion. The title of the talk is "Birds, bats and butterflies - evolutionary solutions to flight". This should be as Christmas for all CAnMovians, as it cannot be better than this! Christoffer is based at the Theoretical Ecology section, Department of Biology, and is usually found in the wind tunnel lab where is tries various tricks to get animals to fly in front of high-tech cameras. He also spends time on developing matlab scripts to analyze kinematics and flow visualization data.

All are very welcome!

måndag 15 mars 2010

Summer Course Animal Movement Analysis - Amsterdam 5-9 July 2010

Please, find the link below to a summer course organized at Amsterdam University, 5-9 July 2010 on Animal Movements Analysis.

If you would like to register for this course, or for more information, please send your contact information, current position and a very brief description of your current research to Judy Shamoun-Baranes shamoun@uva.nl.

For information:

This course would be ideal for several of the CAnMove PhD students, and I strongly recommend you to check the program.


onsdag 3 mars 2010

Winner of Prize for best article in Navigation News during 2009 on how animals navigate

I am happy to forward a recent message from Pinky Grocott, Royal Insitute of Navigation to the CAnMove team.

Pinky wrote:
"The Editor RIN is pleased to announce that Dr Miriam Liedvogel of Lund University, Sweden, has won the prize for the best paper on animal navigation in Navigation News in 2009. Miriam’s paper ‘The Cryptochrome Controversy’, a subject which had generated a lot of heat among biologists over many months on the RIN e-mail animal-forum, explained the inherent issues in terms that would be understood by the many disciplines and by most of the practitioners within the RIN. Miriam will receive £250 cash, one year’s free membership of the RIN and a certificate of the award."

Congratulations Miriam! Very well done!


tisdag 2 mars 2010

Experience of unpredictable environments influences risk-taking behaviour in fish

Fishing for guppies in the Arima river, Trinidad

In a recent paper published in Behavioral Ecology (Chapman et al. 2010: http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/arq003v1) we investigated the role of early experience in the development of risk-taking behaviour in animals. Variation in individual boldness has been demonstrated in an astounding range of animals, from birds to fish to ants, and so understanding what drives this variation is an important question in biology. We reasoned that animals that experience unpredictable food resources in early life will learn to partake in more risky behaviour than those that have a predictable food supply, due to the potential costs involved in not acquiring food. We tested our idea using guppies, a species of tropical fish, by rearing groups of fish under either predictable or unpredictable feeding conditions. Fish that had a predictable upbringing were fed a standard amount of food at a set time of day, whilst fish that were fed on an unpredictable schedule were fed at random times of day. As we expected, fish that experienced unpredictability in early life were bolder than those experiencing a predictable food supply, spending more time exploring new environments and leaving the safety of a shoal for longer periods. Our research highlights the powerful influence early experience can play in animal behaviour, and suggests that uncertain, fluctuating environments produce behaviourally bold individuals.


My collaborators in this project:

Jens Krause http://www.igb-berlin.de/abt4/mitarbeiter/krause/index_e.shtml

Lesley Morrell http://www.personal.leeds.ac.uk/~bgyljm/