Researchers from across Europe and a wide range of expertise – including ecology, biogeography, ornithology, entomology, meteorology, mathematics and engineering – now join forces in the field of aeroecology to foster continental-scale remote sensing of animal migration for the first time.
The research network is named ENRAM (“the European Network for the Radar surveillance of Animal Movement’) and currently involves scientists from 15 countries. Sweden and CAnMove are represented in the Management Committee by Professor Susanne Åkesson and Associate Professor Lars Pettersson with Drs Johan Bäckman and Markus Franzén as deputies. The collaboration will run for four years and is funded by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), one of the longest-running European frameworks supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers across Europe.
The background to the project is that the aerial movement of billions of organisms through Europe each spring and autumn brings enormous benefits in terms of ecosystem services, but also poses great risks through air-traffic collisions, invasions of crop pests and spread of disease. Mass movements through the aerosphere are detected by weather radar measurements and have a severe impact on the accuracy of weather radar products. Therefore meteorologists and hydrologists need to be able to recognise and filter these biological echoes. At the same time, weather radar data have the potential of providing detailed information on the intensity, timing, altitude and spatial scale of mass movements of a broad range of taxa that move through the aerosphere.
The ideal platform to carry out standardized continent-wide monitoring of aerial movements is the existing Europe-wide network of weather radars, which in principal is already sensing these biological targets. The principal goal of the ENRAM network is to establish international and interdisciplinary collaboration needed to achieve coordinated monitoring of animal movements through the aerosphere over the European continent.