30 November 2009
07 November 2009
14 October 2009
06 October 2009
22 September 2009
15 September 2009
You can still register for the meeting if you haven't already; it should be a lot of fun--and there are plenty of biomechanics talks for those of you who are less interested in migration than I am!
01 September 2009
A new fridge was delivered today, 1 September 2009, to be used for storing animal food for wind tunnel birds and bats. The fridge has a constant temperature facility, meaning it has a fan that mixes the air inside the fridge. The old fridge was broken since many years and in the interim a constant temperature box has been used, which accommodates fridge-like temperatures but is otherwise not large enough. The recent problems with the large generic cold rooms in the Ecology building, with measurable water depth on floor and mold infestations, made this acquisition a necessary step in order to be able to keep high quality mealworms, crickets, honey, and nectar plus at optimal conditions. The picture shows happy Florian Muijres and Melissa Bowlin during the installation procedure of the new fridge.
In the movie you see the flying bat from behind. The right side of the movie shows the right half of the bat body and its right wing, while the left side of the movie shows the wake generated by the flapping left wing. This wake is calculated using our DPIV system. The colors in it are vorticity strength while the black arrows are the in-plane air velocity vectors.
The movie is slowed down 10 times and it is looped 5 times.
27 August 2009
25 August 2009
You can find our review here.
*an embarrassingly long time
21 August 2009
I know not all of you work on migration, but I thought I would post this here anyway.
We are sending out a call for abstracts to present in a session complementing our symposium, Integrative Migration Biology, which will be held at the 2010 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) meeting, Jan. 3-7, in Seattle, WA. We would especially like to extend this invitation to students and post-docs, but welcome abstracts from all researchers currently studying animal migration. As a student or post-doc, this would give you a wonderful opportunity to interact with some of the top researchers in the field of animal migration. We welcome submissions for both contributed papers and posters, and encourage students to apply for SICB’s Charlotte Mangum Student Support Program. Please check out the SICB meeting page at for more information.
Billions of animals migrate each year, and they can have enormous effects on the communities and ecosystems they inhabit. We wish to bring together researchers from all over the world who are attempting to integrate ecology, evolution, behavior, physiology, and theory in order to understand the phenomenon of migration. In order to migrate, organisms themselves must integrate many aspects of behavior, physiology, genetics, and morphology. Migration is therefore an excellent system in which to study adaptation and the interplay between various ecological and evolutionary levels of analysis. Traditionally, however, researchers have tended to focus on one narrow aspect of migratory behavior to the exclusion of all else. More recently, biologists have begun to examine multiple aspects of migration in order to better understand this important life history strategy. The primary goal of this symposium is to bring these researchers together with students and post-docs who are just staring their research programs in order to foster discussion and collaboration and further the development of integrative migration biology research.
This symposium and the complementary session(s) are designed to provide a venue for researchers from around the globe to discuss the past, present, and future of migration research. The list of symposium speakers and preliminary titles include:
1. Melissa Bowlin (Lund University), Isabelle-Anne Bisson (Princeton University), & Martin Wikelski (Max Planck Institute for Ornithology). "Integrative migration biology: Past, present, and an exciting future."
2. Marilyn Ramenofsky (University of California Davis). "Endocrine and metabolic parameters coincide with daily fueling and flight cycles of captive migrants."
3. Anders Hedenström (Lund University). "Testing migration theory: the utility of inegrative approaches using field experiments and wind tunnels."
4. Chris Guglielmo (University of Western Ontario). TBA
5. Susanne Åkesson (Lund University). "Endogenous migration programs, migratory fattening and orientation in passerine birds."
6. Kasper Thorup (University of Copenhagen). "Understanding the migratory orientation program in birds: extending laboratory studies to studying free-flying migrants in a natural setting."
7. Tom Kunz (Boston University). TBA
8. Nir Sapir (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem). "The effect of weather on migrating bee-eaters studied by radio-telemetry and numeric atmospheric model."
9. Judy Shamoun-Baranes (Amsterdam University). "Integrating measurements and models to study the influence of weather on migration."
10. Peter Marra (Migratory Bird Center, Smithsonian Institution). "Seasonal interactions and carry-over effects – understanding migration in the context of the annual cycle."
11. David Wilcove (Princeton University). TBA
Additional information will be posted on our symposium website, which we will put up here: once we have finalized some additional details. If you have questions about the symposium or the meeting, please contact us at melissabowlin at gmail dot com or ibisson at princeton dot edu.
Funding for this symposium was provided by MIGRATE, an NSF-funded Research Coordination Network, and SICB.
Note: in order to ensure that your talk or poster will be placed in the correct session, be sure to put our symposium, Integrative Migration Biology, into the field following the statement, "I would like to be in a session complementing a regular symposium" on the abstract submission form on SICB’s meeting webpage.
We hope to see you in Seattle!
12 July 2009
Here is my follow-up to melissa's post:
Yes, Lieke and i got a son today! His name is:
Isnt he georgeous. The detailed specs about him can be found in image 2.
Ps. The pics are not the best quality, but that's the first proof of
the fact that your priorities change when you get a kid (as one
advisor of mine clearly explained to me ;)
05 July 2009
On Tuesday I went to the radio workshop with Alun Lewis, who had worked for the BBC a long time and gave us many interesting and useful tips how to perform in a radio interview. Since the rest of the world has a hard time understanding scientists and has no chance of gaining knowledge if we don't try really hard to get out of our science language. I was interviewed on how we can be like superheroes :) It was a great workshop!
01 July 2009
...Except that at one point, the genetic algorithm found a bipedal gait that was better than normal bipedalism or quadrapedalism: hopping like a kangaroo! As he said, GAs are great for exploring parameter space, and for generating hypotheses we wouldn't have even considered (though he doesn't think that hadrosaurs actually hopped due to strain on the skeleton).
Yesterday's highlight for me was a talk by Steve Cook on conservation physiology as a discipline using his research on the Fraser River sockeye salmon as a case study. He argued that because physiologists can link cause and effect (when water temperatures are warm, parasites grow faster, and those parasites kill the fish), whereas demographers and more 'traditional' conservationists can only get correlations (when water temperatures are warm, fish die). It got me to thinking--is there any way that we, as biomechanicists/people who study animal movement, can inform management decisions? (Actually, I saw a great talk at SICB a few years ago looking at the performance of hatchery-bred fish vs. wild-caught fish which showed that hatchery-bred fish are quite useless when it comes to escaping predators.) Is there anything like that we could do with birds or bats? I don't know how it is in Sweden, but in the US you're much more likely to get funding if you can bend your research conservation-wards.
Yesterday was also the dinner and dance, which was a lot of fun. Today there's very little biomechanics, but lots of physiological energetics...so that's where I'll probably be!
30 June 2009
This day I spent almost entierly in the Biomechanics sessions. There were several interesting talks about stability in walking and running on both humans and other animals. Furthermore this day was the one with the "flight-session", in which Rhea and Melissa had their talks. Rhea had a very nice talk about the comparison between the two bats species beeing studied in Lund. It was an exellent talk showing very nicely comparisons between both kinematics and aerodynamics, with some nice movies on SDPIV results and the beautiful iso-surfaces. Melissa held her fascinating talk about the effect of moult gaps on kinematics and aerodynamics of the flycathcers. This talk was also very good and showed very clearly the impact of the moult gap on both kinematics and aerodynamics. Good work both of you! My talk was not in the Biomechanics session, but in the General Biology session. I talked about flight speeds in swifts during three different seasons and behaviours; spring migration, autumn migration and summer roosting.
Furthermore, in the biomechanics session, there were a couple of talks about butterfly and hawkmoth flight, with some application to MAV design. Very impressive work. Anna Carruthers talked about here Steppe Eagle and the function of the leading edge flap and some CFD analysis on high angles of attack during landing. Bret Tobalske had a nice talk about muscle activity and metabolic rate in hummingbird including power curve estimate. Excellent.
After the sessions we all took a walk through the city center all the way to the Cathedral. This was an impressive building, as many others are in this city. We all returned to our hotels satisfied and tired from a full day of impressions.
28 June 2009
As Day 1 of the conference draws to a close, I thought I would post a quick update. I spent most of the day in the Evolution of Evolution: What would you tell Darwin? symposium in honor of Darwin's 200th birthday, though I caught a few biomechanics talks in the afternoon. In between talks and the welcome wine trail event, Per, Rhea and I walked through the city, trying to find a building you can see from my hotel room window that I jokingly dubbed the Fairy Tale Castle. We found it--and found out that it was actually the main university building, which you can see pictured to the right (sorry for the quality--I have a cheap camera). I'm quite jealous of the students at Glasgow University!
This is what the entrance looked like. Sadly, it was behind a locked gate--it's apparently not open on Sundays.
Highlights of the day:
- Seeing Rosemary and Peter Grant again and getting an update on the finches through their symposium talks: the effects of La Nina droughts on G. fortis have been completely reversed on Daphne Major due to the establishment of a population of G. magnirostris!
- Seeing Bret Tobalske again; he talks tomorrow in the same session Rhea and I are talking in.
- A talk on the evolution of whales by Michael Berenbrink about how to physiologically solve the problem of holding your breath for hours at a time. It turns out that whales--and other diving mammals and even birds--increase the solubility of myoglobin in their muscle tissue by evolving myoglobin with a higher net positive charge. In other words, mutations to amino acids that decrease the net charge of the protein appear to be favored in diving animals. This then allows them to keep more myoglobin in their muscle, which can hold onto large amounts of oxygen during long dives. Very neat!
26 June 2009
During next week the annual scientific meeting of the Society for Experimental Biology is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland. This is a major arena for animal flight related work, and the Lund Animal Flight Lab is represented by three members - all giving oral presentations about their work. Melissa Bowlin is talking about "the aerodynamics of moult gaps", Per Henningsson is presenting work on "flight speeds in swifts" (partly based on his recent Proc R Soc B paper), and Rhea von Busse is talking about "Bat kinematics and aerodynamics". I am sure all these talks will be of great interest to the lucky audience. If possible, we will be able to read daily bulletins from the SEB conference composed by Melissa, Per and Rhea on this blog. Looking forward to getting updated about the research front of our field.
24 June 2009
Phil Trans R Soc
Proc R Soc B
J Exp Biol
J R Soc Interface
J Avian Biol
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16 June 2009
In a New paper published in the open access journal PLoS Biology, Siewert Rowher and co-workers investigate how the duration of moult scales with body size. They find that moult takes progressively longer to complete as the bird gets larger, and argue that moult is a significant player in the evolution of body size in birds. At a size above approximately 3 kg an annual complete moult is no longer possible according to Rowher et al's analysis, and we get phenomena such as sabbaticals form breeding and 'staffelmauser'. A mechanistic explanation for the the observed scaling is also presented. The paper is also commented by Nature.
15 June 2009
Courtship dives of Anna's hummingbird offer insights into flight performance limits, by
03 June 2009
Felix Liechti, head of the Swiss radar research group is visiting this week, and he is arriving already on Thursday evening, but leaves on Monday morning. This means that we have Friday for work on the light logger experiments, or rather for starting working on it. I hope as many as possible will be here Friday, when we will also be able to talk to Felix about research in his group.