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måndag 26 november 2012

The Ecology of Animal Migration 2013!

The dates are now set for the 7th version of the popular PhD-course Ecology of Animal Migration: October 22nd - November 1st 2013

The course has been given since 1999, with CAnMove as sole organizer since 2009. Last time the course attracted students from 17 different countries!

During the two-week course the students are given insight in a number of different methods and approaches to study the migration of birds, insects, fish, amphibians and mammals, ranging from experimental studies in the laboratory to tracking long-distance migration in wild animals. Lectures are given by international authorities in the field as well as by researchers within the CAnMove group.

Registration opens in 2013. To the course web!

fredag 23 november 2012

All systems go!

We are approaching 10 years of studying the mass migration of freshwater fishes from Lake Krankesjön into the connecting streams! Nearly time for some kind of party…
The old antenna system has served us well, but recent support from CAnMove and Fysiografen has enabled us to modernise. To study fish migration we use passive telemetry, collecting data on the movements of tagged individuals with continuously operating antenna stations in every stream. Last year we installed a brand new and upgraded system, which required a new database to handle the millions of data points generated by the seasonal movements of mostly cyprinid fishes. We hosted Dr. Henrik Baktoft of the Danish Technical University, who, along with CAnMove’s Johan Bäckman, built a custom-made database to hold old data and process new information gathered by the system.

Fysiografen also funded the project 170 ksek to modernise the system further. We will install solar panels at the remote antenna stations so that our migration research will have a self-supporting energy supply. In addition we will install technology that allow us to send the data from our study site straight to Lund via mobile phone satellites and into the database on a daily basis. This will save us time and also make the project a great deal more environmentally friendly!
Our aim is to have (almost) real time data from the fish migration available on the CAnMove webpage, so that fellow migration enthusiasts can follow the fish as they migrate. This advanced and upgraded system will also support us in our current projects, which include investigating sex differences in migratory behavior, experimentally manipulating predation risk to assess migratory plasticity, evaluating the impact of pollutants upon migration and searching for the mechanisms of navigating during migration. It will also help us develop a longer-term project, which aims to quantify some of the costs and benefits associated with migratory versus resident strategies. The future is bright! Thanks to CAnMove and Fysiografen for their support!

//Kaj, Ben, Christer B & Lars-Anders

torsdag 22 november 2012

With that diet, you will go far!

Butterflies and moths expand northwards quickly. But some move faster than others. A new study by Lars Pettersson and collegues, covering 37 years of range expansion in Sweden reveals that diet can play a major role. Specialist species whose larvae feed on nitrogen-favoured plants spread northwards more rapidly. The researchers demonstrate that expansion rates depend in predictable ways on traits such as diet specialization and habitat affinities. This suggests that increased areas of nitrogen-rich habitat, and increased availability of nitrogen-favoured diet, are among the most important drivers of range expansions, potentially having far-reaching consequences for a wide variety of organisms.

tisdag 20 november 2012

"Mitt i Naturen" about Caspian tern migration

For those of you who missed it, last week's "Mitt i Naturen" focused on the Caspian tern and the use of GPS-divices to track its migration.
To the programme!

måndag 19 november 2012

CAnMove book camp

Helena, Miriam and Åke
The lead authors of the CAnMove book “Animal Movement Across Scales” recently met at nearby “Gården” providing a cosy and friendly atmosphere for the book camp. 

Lars-Anders Hansson led the program extending over two days which involved creative discussions, brainstorming and discussions on cross-referencing covering the topics of all different book chapters.

Version #1 of the book was at the table and the mission of the book camp was to find connections between chapters and to update contents of each chapter and thus help the authors to move the book to a final stage to be available for review early next year.

Ben, Johan and Glenn
We hope to produce a book of interest for advanced students and interested scientists in the field covering basic theory and understanding, but also high-lighting exciting new findings. Topics like, effects of climate change on movements were discussed as well as spread of diseases by migrating animals, adaptations related to locomotion and navigation, genetics of migration and migration patterns. 

The locomotion expertise; Anders and Christoffer

The book camp was a very successful step in this process and gave the participants an excellent chance to interact with the other scientists in the program. 


torsdag 15 november 2012

Database funding to CAnMove!

Today is a happy day for CAnMove! We have just received an announcement from The Swedish Research Council that CAnMove has been granted special funding for creating a database on animal movement data. We were among the 11 lucky applicants out of 38, that were granted money.

Creating this database will enhance both current research and enable us to perform new and advanced analysis of our large data collections. CAnMove will cooperate with similar infrastructures on the technical solutions and focus on providing our researchers with best possible data handling support. The main part of the grant will be used to recruit a full time IT expert on data handling. Our future is bright!

Link to VR

onsdag 14 november 2012

New publication on geomagnetic bi-coordinate navigation

A bi-coordinate map sense based on geomagnetic information was first suggested by Viguier, almost 130 years ago, but it did not receive much attention until the beginning of this century. The magnetic map hypothesis in animal navigation has attracted an increasing amount of attention during the last decade and magnetic navigation has been demonstrated in several animal species from widely separated taxa.

In a recent paper by Boström et al. 2012, published in Ecography, we investigated the global geomagnetic prerequisites for geomagnetic bi-coordinate navigation in order to pinpoint possible problematic, as well as suitable, areas for migrating animals. We analysed the angular difference between isolines for inclination and total field intensity on a global map divided into 3° lat. × 3° long. squares and produced a map illustrating different regions of the earth defined by different angular intervals. This map revealed four vertical bands of little or no variation between isolines (‘no-grid’ zones) in the northern hemisphere as well as a few areas in the southern hemisphere. Most part of the globe show intermediate angular difference (2-30º), but there are also large regions both at northern latitudes and in the Pacific, Indian and south Atlantic Oceans where the two isolines form a clear grid.
Illustration of the possibility for animals to use a bi-coordinate map based on geomagnetic inclination and total field intensity ona global scale. Areas with an angular difference of 2 ° are shown in red, 2– 30° in yellow and 30 ° are shown in green.
We also analysed how the geomagnetic field varied along four assumed migration routes as well as two fictive routes across the US that may have been followed by birds geographically displaced in this region. For animals migrating long distances across longitudes we discovered a possible cause of difficulty. When moving east-west across one of the ‘no-grid’ zones stretching north-south the animals have to first move against higher values for both total field intensity and inclination, past a peak and then continue towards lower values. For juvenile individuals using an innate navigation system more complex than the clock-and-compass model, this information would have to be incorporated into the endogenous migration program. We also discussed possible problems for animals dealing with the ambiguity that may arise when migrating in regions where mirrored combinations occur. These mirrored combinations often occur on both sides of the north-south stretching ‘no-grid’ zones and will hence also affect animals moving east-west across longitudes.

måndag 12 november 2012

Climate change affects Swedish bird life

Within the Swedish Bird Survey, the population size changes of Swedish breeding birds is monitored. Given that it started already in 1975, it constitutes a rich source of long term data. In a number of recent studies, Åke Lindström and Martin Green has collaborated with French researchers to investigate how the last decades of increased temperature in Sweden has affected bird life.

One approach was to investigate how the proportion of warmth-loving and cold-loving species has changed in Sweden. To start with, all bird species in the study were classified in relation to the average temperature of the species’ breeding distribution in Europe (STI, Species Temperature Index). The Siberian tit, for example, bredding in northernmost Europe only, get a STI of +6.9° C. It is a ”cold” species. The Goldfinch, with a STI of +15.3° C, is a ”warm” species. The average STI of all birds in a given site is the ”Community Temperature Index” (CTI). The CTI was calculated for a large number of sites around Sweden and compared over years (Lindström et al. 2012). Generally, CTI increased over time at most sites in Sweden, in parallel to increasing summer temperatures. Clearly, as Swedish summers get warmer, we get more and more warmth-loving birds. This is primarily because the “warm” birds of southern Sweden become more common and also move northwards, and to some extent that “cold” birds of northern Sweden retreat northwards.   
However, the study also showed that, while a given summer temperature moved about 300km north during 1975-2009, the bird communities only moved 100 km north – thus lagging behind about 200 km!  The birds are not moving as fast as the climate. Although the long term effects of this is not yet known, a potential problem could be that the birds get out of phase with important resources, such as food and habitat. A similar study on birds in Europe (Devictor et al. 2012), where Swedish data were included, showed a similar trend. It also revealed that butterflies were much better in following the changing temperature, possibly due to their much shorter life span.
Another European study, using data from the Swedish bird survey, showed that habitat generalists are doing better than habitat specialists (LeViol etal. 2012). This trend was visible throughout all of Europe, but most apparent in Sweden.
Based on several different forecasts of climate and landscape changes, the Swedish Bird Survey data also formed the basis of detailed scenarios on how the Swedish bird population will be distributed in 2050 (Jiguet et al. 2012). These scenarios show that the population changes the last decade follow the pattern of the predicted bird distribution in 2050!
Even though there are other factors affecting bird numbers, such as land use, the above studies clearly reveal that current climate change affects the Swedish bird populations here and now.

onsdag 7 november 2012

Differential orientation in Scandinavian willow warblers explained by genotype

Photo: Dimitar Dimitrov

The willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) is a tiny passerine capable of flying thousands of kilometers during long-distance migrations from the temperate regions of Europe and Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa and back. Just like most European songbirds, during their first autumn migration these small birds are flying alone in the night guided by their endogenous migration program. Willow warblers breeding in southern and northern Scandinavia belong to two different subspecies. Due to the efforts of a group of scientists from Lund University both subspecies can now be distinguished by genetic markers. Ringing recoveries and stable isotopes show that the willow warblers from southern and northern Scandinavia migrate to different wintering areas in Africa.

In a recent paper by Ilieva et al. 2012 published in Behavioural Processes we used orientation cages to show that the autumn migratory orientation of the Scandinavian willow warblers depends on their origin. Genetically assessed southern and northern birds headed south-west and south-southeast, respectively. Depending on whether the birds were tested far from the coast or at the southern tip of the island of Öland, they oriented in a different way. Willow warblers tested in front of an ecological barrier, the Baltic Sea, were less active compared to the individuals tested inland, especially when overcast conditions were simulated by placing Plexiglas sheets on top of the cages. More individuals also showed reverse directions at the coast, a phenomenon often observed in coastal areas. The current experiments show the potential of using orientation cages to study inherited migratory directions in willow warblers. Future studies of the orientation of hybrids between both subspecies will be crucial for a broader understanding of the mechanisms underlying the determination of migration direction.


måndag 5 november 2012

Cross-disciplinary seminar!

Welcome to a joint seminar with one of the other Linnaeus programs LCCC (Lund Centre for Control of Complex Engineering Systems) at LTH,  15 November 13.30-16.00 in Tanken!

Three researchers from LCCC will present LCCC and their work, and we hope for lively discussions on cross-disciplinary work and technological applications to biological movement research! After the discussion there will be a tour around the CAnMove-facilites such as the wind tunnel, the radar and the technology lab for those who are interested.

"Introduction and overview of LCCC" - Anders Rantzer
 - "On postion estimation algorithms"- Bo Bernhardsson
 -  "Networks and control" - Giacomo Como

torsdag 1 november 2012

Grants and prizes!

Today the Swedish Research Council announces the grants from 2012:s general call. Congratulations to CAnMove PIs and associates Thomas Alerstam, Anders Hedenström, Niclas Jonzén, Karin Rengefors, Erik Svensson and Maren Wellenreuther who all were granted money!
Photo: Kennet Ruona
Congratulations also to CAnMove PI Karin Rengefors, who in October was awarded the Lund University prize for outstanding efforts in education. Karin received the prize for her outstanding efforts as director of the research school GENECO (Graduate Research School in Genomic Ecology). The prize is awarded every year, and consists of 25 000 Swedish crowns to use for travel.