27 August 2009

Lift in hovering hummingbirds

A new paper published in Proceedings R Soc B (still as FirstCite) explores the lift generating mechanism in hummingbirds. The study is made by the team Warrick, Tobalske and Powers, i.e. the same group that published a paper on hummingbird wakes in Nature in 2005. This is their follow up, now looking closer to the wing with their PIV cameras. The leading edge vorticity is not as prominent in hummingbirds as found previously for hawkmoths and bats (in Lund), but is more varying and with a mean contribution to lift of 16%. I think that everybody expected a big fat LEV in hummingbirds, being classified as honorary insects by some, and so this study shows an unexpected result. It is always a challenge to explain the unexpected, but we are facing some interesting phenomena here and we should soon be able to compare these results with that of avian hovering, such as in pied flycatchers.

The paper can be found here:

25 August 2009

New lab publication!

Once upon a time, a group of us sat down at a MIGRATE) meeting and decided to write something about how technology could impact migration research. Now, an undisclosed* amount of time later, the manuscript, titled "Integrating concepts and technologies to advance the study of bird migration," has finally been pre-printed in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, which is similar to TREE.

You can find our review here.


*an embarrassingly long time

21 August 2009

Call for abstracts/symposium announcement - Integrative Migration Biology. Deadline 11 September.

Hi Animal Flight Lab!

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!