tisdag 28 september 2010
Today the first group of enthusiastic and brave CAnMovians started the series of brainstorm events to discuss development of research areas within CAnMove for the coming years. The task was to highlight the most interesting questions and needs to fulfill the identified research goals. The first event covered an at first glance odd combination of research areas which included residency, partial migration and nanobiology. Lars-Anders Hansson chaired the discussions which turned out to be very creative and the group formulated a suggested plan including infrastructure investments, new collaborations and manuscript ideas.
The next event is Orientation & Navigation, Migration Patterns (chair: Susanne Åkesson) - 30/9 at 13:30 - 15:30h in Communis.
All CAnMovians are Very Welcome to take part in the brainstorming events and to be involved in formulating the new directions of CAnMove research!
måndag 27 september 2010
By Keith Larson
On 18 May we departed from Lund University, southern Sweden, the destination, 61˚ north latitude along the Baltic coast of Sweden. Our goal was to trap willow warblers along several transects traversing a secondary contact zone for two subspecies spanning the center of the country from east to west. On this trip we would drive over 5000 km from the Baltic Sea in the east to the mountains on the border of Norway to the west and back trapping almost 400 birds at 30 sites in seven weeks!
The first transect was along the Baltic coast from Söderhamn to Umeå with trapping occurring at sites previously sampled between 1996 and 2004. From the first day we set our nets we noticed that our target species, despite being the most abundant species in Scandinavia, was less abundant than during our previous two trapping seasons. This year to reach our site sample size we had to work many more hours and trapped over larger areas. It had been a long cold winter and signs of summer were a long way off!
Most days started before sunrise with breakfast, packing the car, and driving forest roads all day long, sometimes until after sunset. Along the roads we were searching for patches of birch, the preferred habitat for willow warblers. Armed with an mp3 player and speaker we intruded into the territory of each male willow warbler we could locate. The song blasting from the speaker typically elicited an aggressive response from the owner. With good luck and a properly placed net the result was a bird in the net.
The first willow warbler in the net was a great moment each day. We collected biometrics, a little blood for genetic analysis, and a couple of feathers for stable isotope analysis. The bird was released with a ring and maybe now marked will be recaptured during migration somewhere between Sweden and Africa!
The habitats varied tremendously from site to site. The perfect patch is a dense stand of birch with low branches or an understory that will attract singing males from the canopy. We have learned that there is a distinctive phenology in behavior and differences in individual responses to intruders within territories that dictates how to use the playback system. Some birds only give you one chance to catch them. If they bounce out of the net or fly low and you have the net set the wrong way you might never catch them.
The second transect crossed from the Baltic coast to the mountains of Lappland. As we progressed to the northwest, the stands of birch increased in density as did the number of willow warblers. Here we were fortunate to capture two willow warblers ringed elsewhere, the first on migration in Sweden during the previous fall and the second in Poland. By the time we had reached the end of the transect on the border of Norway near Hemavan it was early June. The long winter still had its grip on the land as the lakes where still frozen, the birch just beginning to bud, and an occasional snow shower to remind us of its presence.
The third transect followed the Inlandsvägen or inland highway from Storumån (famous for its skiers, arm wrestlers, and the Wildman) to Mora (home of the famous Vasaloppet ski competition). Here we trapped often in vast areas of managed forest that required lots of patience and persistence to trap our sample size each day. As winter finally turned to spring the onslaught of mosquitoes arrived! Fortunately we had head nets and jungle juice to make our work tolerable; drive, find patch of birch, listen for willow warbler, use playback and mist-net to catch willow warbler, collect measurements and tissues, release bird, and repeat – 15 times each day!
The final transect was from Idre north to Lake Anjan through the fjäll or mountains along the border of Norway. Here we traversed the contact zone from south to north. The scenery was fantastic and with vast regions of birch forest the trapping improved each day as we moved north out of the managed forests. Despite the large amounts of high quality habitat, we still had the impression that the density of birds was much lower than the previous two years. As we trapped our last birds of the season near Vålådalen, we wondered how such a different year might affect the structure of the contact zone.
Willow warbler field crew: Max Lundberg, John Boss, Miriam Liedvogel, Sieglinde Kundisch, and Keith Larson
måndag 20 september 2010
The aim of the symposium Genetics of Migration is to discuss the state of the art and identify future directions and methodological approaches, as well as providing an opportunity to interact with scope for future collaborations between different institutions.
The symposium will be held in the Ecology Building on 6th December 2010 and we very much welcome all people fascinated in the field of migratory genetics and all CAnMove members to participate. The programme will be centred on a backbone of six talks by key figures in the field presenting case studies across a variety of taxa. The preliminary programme can be found here. We will close the symposium with a plenary discussion to synthesise future directions, methodological approaches, and assess possibilities and pitfalls thereof.
We particularly encourage Ph.D. students to present and discuss their work with a poster presentation - there will be ample opportunity for interaction and general discussion with all participants.
Registration: Attendance of the symposium is free, if you want to attend, please register here. The deadline for applications is October 22nd.
Further information can be found on the CAnMove page "Conference and meetings", this page will be regularly updated.
We are looking forward to seeing you all at the symposium, welcome!
Miriam, Susanne and Staffan
måndag 13 september 2010
Last week we held a CAnMove symposium in 'The Ecology & Evolution of Partial Migration' at Lund University. We had 19 international speakers, including 4 CAnMovians, who presented theoretical and empirical research into partial migration in a diverse range of taxa, including neotropical birds, salmonid fish and ungulates. Partial migration, where just a fraction of a population migrates, is thought to be extremely widespread in nature. As technology advances and our knowledge of animal movement patterns increases, the prevalence of partial migration amongst migratory species becomes even more striking. Some of the highlights of the meeting included Mark Hebblewhite's (University of Montana) plenary talk about partial migration in ungulates. His group has shown that human activities have altered the cost/benefit balance of the resident strategy by reducing predation risk from wolves in areas with human settlements. We also had some illuminating theory talks by Per Lundberg and Anders Hedenstrom (Lund University), Allison Shaw (Princeton University), and our second plenary speaker, Hanna Kokko (Australian National University). Hanna gave an excellent introduction to the theory of partial migration, and showed that behaviour that is optimal for the individual is not always optimal when scaled to a population level.
Other highlights included Christian Skov (Danish Technical University), whose work highlights the importance of predation as a factor influencing conditional migratory behaviour in multiple populations of freshwater fish, bream. Courtney Conway (University of Arizona) also took a cross-population approach to test hypotheses of partial migration in burrowing owls in North America, and Alice Boyle (University of Western Ontario) presented a fascinating series of research projects which investigated the 'limited foraging opportunity' hypothesis both a a species- and community-level in neotropical birds.
All in all it was an informative and fun symposium, with a diversity of research questions in the area of partial migration, including the role of culture and learning, animal personality, and parent-offspring conflict in partial migration, which really highlights the breadth of activity in this resurgent field. We ended with discussions and a CAnMove barbecue. Many of the participants took advantage of juggling therapy from Marcus Ljungqvist to wind down from the symposium. Was he successful at teaching juggling to scientists? Well, at least partially ...
We will now begin work on a thematic edition of Oikos on the 'Ecology & Evolution of Partial Migration' which will include some of the exciting research we heard about at the symposium. Watch this space for more details!
tisdag 7 september 2010
Please, do not forget to sign up for the RIN11 conference!
The Royal Institute of Navigation will be holding the Seventh International Conference on how animals navigate (RIN11 Orientation & Navigation Birds, Humans & Other Animals) at Whiteknights Campus, Reading University, UK from midday Wednesday 6April until midday Saturday 9 April 2011.
Abstracts should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 September 2010. Notification of provisional acceptance will be given by 30 October 2010.
For more information on conference, please, see news section on CAnMove home page.