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


söndag 30 mars 2014

New function of ancient Viking navigation instrument

Source: istockphoto
Vikings from Scandinavia were traders, explored new land and settled in areas far from their homeland in Northern Europe. They inhabited Iceland and southern Greenland and they even discovered North Americas long before Columbus set his foot on the land located so far away in the west. From spring to autumn the Vikings were engaging in trading trips and routinely crossed the North Atlantic in their oak ships without guidance from a magnetic compass. Viking settlements were raised as far west and north-west as south Greenland, Newfoundland and Baffin Island. To reach these distant locations from Scandinavia and more closely from Iceland, it is widely accepted that they sailed along chosen latitudes using primitive Sun compasses. An eleventh-century dial fragment artefact, found at Uunartoq in Greenland has been suggested to be a fragment of a navigation instrument used by the early settlers. Instruments of this type has been tested on sea crossings and proved to be efficient hand-held navigation tools, but the dimensions and incisions of the Uunartoq find are far from optimal in this role. On the basis of the sagas mentioning sunstones, incompatible hypotheses were formed for Viking solar navigation procedures and primitive skylight polarimetry with dichroic or birefringent crystals.

The Uunartoq artefact from Greenland. Source: Sören Thirslund.

The Uunatoq artefact is suggested by us to be used as a combined Sun compass and horizon board (a "twilight board") and may have been used around the clock at northern latitudes (from Bernáth et al. 2014, Proc R Soc A).
In a recent study published in Proc R Soc A (Bernáth et al. 2014), we describe a previously unconceived method of navigation based on the Uunartoq artefact functioning as a ‘twilight board’, which is a combination of a horizon board and a Sun compass optimized for use when the Sun is close to the horizon. We deduced an appropriate solar navigation procedure using a twilight board, a shadow-stick and birefringent crystals, which bring together earlier suggested methods in harmony and provide a true skylight compass function. This could have allowed Vikings to navigate around the clock, to use the artefact dial as a Sun compass during long parts of the day and to use skylight polarization patterns in the twilight period. In field tests, we found that true north could be appointed with such a medieval skylight compass with an error of about ±4◦ when the artificially occluded Sun had elevation angles between +10◦ and −8◦ relative to the horizon. Our interpretation allows us to assign exact dates to the gnomonic lines on the artefact and outlines the schedule of the merchant ships that sustained the Viking colony in Greenland a millennium ago.

/Susanne Åkesson 

onsdag 26 mars 2014

LUMBO meeting

LUMBO at field campaign in 2013. 
At the recent LUMBO action group meeting scientists and PhD students attended from three different Linnaeus programs at Lund University (CAnMove, LLC and LCCC). CAnMove members Susanne Åkesson and Mikkel Brydegaard (LCC, CAnMove) organized the meeting with the mission to formalize the plans for the coming year’s development tasks and field campaigns, but also to share experiences taken from the initial year 2013. LUMBO, Lund University Mobile Biosphere Observatory, is currently docked on the roof of the Ecology Building, but will leave this location in late May for a number of field campaigns dedicated to insect research throughout the summer. The LUMBO is part of a national infrastructure initiative SILORS, which is coordinated at Combustion Physics at the Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Lund University.
At the meeting the ca 20 participants covered topics from robotic control of telescopes, data processing, national and international LIDAR initiatives and biological research projects on parasite-host interactions, biodiversity, animal migration and pollinators in the agricultural landscape. Next meeting will be held in autumn 2014.
LCC - Lund Laser centre
LCCC - Lund Center for Control of Complex Engineering Systems

Swedish Infrastructure for Laser-Optical Remote Sensing (SILORS)

tisdag 25 mars 2014

CAnMove and Lundaloppet!

Sign up for this year’s Lundaloppet! It will be on Saturday May 10th.  CAnMove will have its own team and you can run either 5 or 10 Km. After the race CAnMove arranges a picnic for everyone.

Lund University offers all employees to participate in Lundaloppet for free and to get the specially designed “Lundaloppet T-shirt” with the university logo on the back.

If you are interested please send an email to Christina.Rengefors@biol.lu.se and you will get more details.

We Can Move!

fredag 14 mars 2014

CAnMove Spring Newsletter 2014

Swedish Research Council visit to CAnMove – midterm evaluation
We have recently arranged a site visit at which six international experts visited CAnMove at the Department of Biology for the Midterm evaluation performed by VR. The expert panel consisted of five experts in Natural Sciences, and one member from the generalist panel. The visiting experts were: Prof. Helmuth Möhwald (head of committee), Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Germany; Prof. John M. Fryxell, University of Guelph, Canada; Prof. Candace Galen, Univeristy of Missouri, USA; Prof. Kathy A. Hibbard, Pacific Northwet National Laboratory, USA; Prof. Jeffrey A. Hutchings, Life Science Centre Dalhousie, University of Halifax, Canada; Prof. Stig Slördahl and Dr. Winnie Birberg, Swedish Research Council. 
At the site visit lasting a full day, we presented the program organization, actions and plans as well as what changes we have made since the previous evaluation. The CAnMove research were also presented, our initial plans, what we have been able to perform so far, but also what we intend to do in the next few years. The expert panel also interviewed the currently active PhD students in one session. We are very grateful for the interest the expert panel showed in our research and for very constructive discussions during the evaluation. Information on the outcome and decision on what consequences the decision will have on the future budget will be communicated by VR in June 2014 in a written report. Prior to this date we will be able to correct any mistakes in the written report. We wish to thank all CAnMove members who in different ways contributed to a very successful site visit. We hope for a positive outcome in June.

Start of Board instead of Steering committee from 1 January 2014
From 1 January the new Board members started their work for CAnMove, involving six PIs and a PhD student’s representative with a deputy member; Prof. Susanne Åkesson (coordinator), Prof. Staffan Bensch, Prof. Lars-Anders Hansson, Prof. Anders Hedenström, Assistant Prof. Maren Wellenreuther, Prof. Dennis Hasselquist, PhD student representatives Kaj Hultén and Cecilia Nilsson (deputy).
The Board now has the responsibility to lead and take decisions on strategy and budget for the CAnMove program. Prior to Board meetings all PIs and the Board members will be invited to a pre-meeting at which the current agenda on the Board meeting is discussed, and information will be given on program progress. The idea with this procedure is to invite comments and ideas from a larger group including all PIs to the decision process, but also to limit the time spent on information points during the following Board meeting. The Student representative will communicate decisions relevant for PhD students and postdocs to the group after each meeting.

Database development meeting
On February 28, Mats Svensson gave a presentation on the CAnMove Database. Mats is creating the CAnMove database for storage and retrieval of research data.
The main messages was the benefits of using database technology, how that affects the way to handle data, the plans for the database development and that the researchers contribution in the form of input to the database design and provision of data sets is vital to the success of the project.

The meeting attracted a diverse group of over 20 people from CAnMove reflecting the interest and importance of the database; 10 PI:s, 7 PhD students and the technical staff.

Lightlogger analysis meeting in Lund.
A group of CAnMovians met up with people from Linköping University (Prof. Fredrik Gustafsson at Dep. of Electrical Engineering) and LTH (Prof. Bo Bernhardsson & PhD student Jakob Antonsson, Dep. of Automatic Control) to discuss possible improvements in accuracy of lightloggers. Most lightloggers of today use a fixed threshold in light intensity to determine the sun angle. That, together with the time of day, makes it possible to calculate the position of the logger. However, also the rate of change in light intensity is dependent on the position (or rather the latitude). We are now discussing how to make use of this information in order to improve the accuracy of the position. This method is also possible to use at the time of the equinoxes.

New staff member – Caroline Bolmeson, project administrator 
From January 2014, Caroline Bolmeson entered CAnMove as a new employee, working 40%. She is assisting Prof. Susanne Åkesson in coordinating projects and finding opportunities for funding among other things. Caroline has previously been working with diabetes research, and has a PhD in molecular biology at Lund University. Caroline happily says: “Coordinating and facilitating projects is my thing. Being a part of CAnMove is a dream job because of the openness for outreach and exciting projects that extends outside of the university borders.”

tisdag 11 mars 2014

Publication of a video-tracking program for tracking the orientation of migratory birds

In a recent paper, CAnMove PI Rachel Muheim and coworkers present a new video-tracking program, BirdOriTrack, for analyzing the orientation of migratory birds (and potentially other animals) filmed in circular cages or funnels. The program automatically extracts time-resolved, positional data of the animals and determines their orientation relative to the center of the cage or funnel. It was written for the analysis of the orientation behavior of animals of different sizes and tested in diverse cage and funnel designs. The aim of BirdOriTrack is to provide the analytical basis for an inexpensive, simple, and flexible method to study the orientation behavior of migratory birds. The program can be used by anyone wishing to address questions about migratory orientation or dispersal orientation in either indoor or outdoor setups, and does not require special recording paper or specifically designed electronic registration techniques.
Muheim R, Henshaw I, Sjöberg S, Deutschlander ME (2014): BirdOriTrack: a new video-tracking program for orientation research with migratory birds. J. Field Ornithol. 85(1):91-105, 2014 DOI: 10.1111/jofo.12053
The program can be downloaded at: http://canmove.lu.se/birdoritrack

fredag 7 mars 2014

Pizza and research news

Tuesday's pizza night gathered almost thirty hungry CAnMovians, who besides pizzas from Vespa got an update on the programme's recent research activities.
Around ten projects have recieved financial support from CAnMove since June 2012, and it was interesting to hear about the latest progress. Max Lundberg and Staffan Bensch even delivered ultra fresh results straight from the lab - results that potentially makes it possible to find genes that are associated with the migratory divide of the willow warblers breeding in Sweden.
Well done and good luck with the future challanges everybody!

lördag 1 mars 2014

Solo-navigating young wandering albatrosses move to sex-segregated foraging zones

The highly mobile wandering albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) explore the Southern Ocean around the Antarctic continent, where they spend several decades of their life foraging, breeding and moving well over 18 000 km in one year across open ocean. They are adapted to navigate the extreme environment open ocean and return to isolated islands to breed. Despite this being one of the most charismatic bird species we still have had very limited knowledge about the dispersal flights and migration of young albatrosses, but also to which zones different populations as well as birds of different age and sexes move. Knowledge which is central for the conservation of the species.

Wandering albatross Diomedea exulans; Photo: Susanne Åkesson
In a newly published study in PLoS ONE  we tracked, by satellite telemetry, the departure dispersal of 13 juvenile wandering albatrosses from the Crozet Islands and compared them with tracks of 7 unrelated adults during the interbreeding season. We used the satellite tracks to identify different behavioural steps of the inherited migration program used by juvenile wandering albatrosses during their first solo-migration. Our results show that the juvenile wandering albatrosses from Crozet Islands moved to sex-specific foraging zones of the ocean using at departures selectively the wind. The birds’ departure flights coincided with tailwinds from southwest. The results suggest that the inherited migration program used by the juvenile wandering albatrosses encode several distinct steps, based on inherited preferred departure routes, differences in migration distance between sexes, and selective use of winds. During long transportation flights the albatrosses were influenced by winds and both adult and juveniles followed approximate loxodrome (rhumbline) routes coinciding with the foraging zone and the specific latitudes of their destination areas. During the long segments of transportation flights across open seas the juveniles selected routes at more northerly latitudes than adults.