07 December 2010
29 November 2010
During the lab meeting today (29 November 2010) the AFL-members that made it to the Ecology Building, in spite of the snow-storm, discussed the recent paper about “The effect of body size on the wing movements of pteropodid bats, with insights into thrust and lift production”. This paper, from the Brown University Group, reports on kinematic parameters studied in six species of bats. The paper concludes that “the ways that bats modulate their wing kinematics to produce thrust and lift over the course of a wing beat cycle are independent of body size”. How convenient if this proves to be true! The authors however thinks that small bats, such as Phyllostomids, may differ from the medium to large sized bats studied here. One reason put forward could be that small bats, using a leading edge vortex, are more insect-like in their use of aerodynamic mechanism, and therefore different from other bats. It will be interesting to find out of smaller species of bats differ in flight.
04 October 2010
A new paper on bat flight has now been published by the Brown University group in the Journal of Experimental Biology (Hubel et al. 2010), where they report on the wake dynamics in a medium sized bat, Cynopterus brachyotis, when it is flying at intermediate speeds (5 and 6.7 m/s). The wake is very similar to that found for other bat species studied in Lund, which lend support for the notion of the generality of these results. Hence, it is very nice to see results of bat aerodynamics being confirmed by anther lab. Since papers of bat flight are still quite rare, this paper will be the focus of our next lab meeting, which will be Monday 11 October, 2010.
13 September 2010
As the remaining AFL crue has noticed Melissa Bowlin has left Lund after 2 years here as Marie Curie postdoc fellow. It has been two years of intense work, including wind tunnel experiments, writing of book chapters, conferences and symposia. Melissa left with lots of data still to be analyzed and published, perhaps most notably about the effect of moult gaps on flight performance in passerine birds. Melissa has now taken up a new position as assistant professor at Dearborn, Detroit, where she is teaching animal physiology alongside her own research. We wish her all the success in her new position in the US, but also that we will remain in close contact in the future.
03 September 2010
24 August 2010
Members of the Animal Flight Lab are currently attending the 15th International Bat Research Conference in Prague. This is the main outlet for bat science, being the biggest assemblage of bat scientists ever at 550 individuals. In the afternoon on Monday (23 August) we had the flight symposium, organised by Anders H and Sharon Swartz, Brown University. Members of both the Lund and Brown labs gave excellent presentations, showing how kinematics and PIV data could be used to get lots of information (Florian Muijres and Rhea von Busse). Other talks were on flight mechanical constraints on bat size (Ulla Lindhe Norberg), context-dependent flight speeds (Marc Holderied), energetics by Na-Bicarbonate isotope analysis (Christian Voigt), and muscle and tendon morphology in the wings (Sharon Swartz). In the evening, the whole group of speakers went in to Prague for a excellent dinner at a restaurant (Café du Paris, see picture). After dinner we strolled through central Prague and into the old city. Today (Tuesday, 24 August) we have enjoyed many more interesting talks, and soon we will attend the poster session, where Melanie Stuiver will present her poster on the bat robot (RoBat).
18 August 2010
28 May 2010
18 May 2010
04 May 2010
22 April 2010
The paper can be found on the 'advance access' portion of ICB's website, here: http://icb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/icq013 .
15 April 2010
29 March 2010
AFL member Rhea von Busse has received a FAZIT stipend, which is a foundation of the FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), which is one of the biggest, reputable German newspapers. They are mainly known to support Journalists in their career but they also support scientific research by giving stipends to doctoral and postdoctoral candidates. Rhea says "I didn’t even know that they provide PhD stipends, but one of the grant counselors at my University told me to apply there and don’t feel discouraged by their guidelines, which mostly address Journalists.". Rhea has collected all of her data to finnish her PhD thesis, and now "only" has to analyze those and write up some manuscript.
16 March 2010
12 March 2010
25 February 2010
Especially during a winter like this those birds that migrated south last autumn probably did a good choice in a Darwinian sense. In mild winters, however, those that decide to stay near their breeding areas may be at an advantage because they can select territories first and they don't have to pay the cost of migrating. Many bats have evolved the alternative strategy of hibernating, which means that they lower their body temperature almost to the ambient, and therefore they spend very little energy. But there is an energy cost and the fat they accumulate in the autumn must last until spring, when insects emerge again. In that sense they can be compared with bird migrants, but instead of converting fuel into distance, they migrate in time. In bats, there are species that do migrate, often in combination with hibernation at the winter destination, and we may think about how this strategy came to be? Here, I want to share some images from a recent winter bat count in the mine at Taberg, Småland. Six species were encountered, and here are pictures (lower) of Whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus; the two small ones) and Brandt's bat (M. brandtii; the two larger ones on the right), and the picture on top shows a Natterer's bat (M. nattereri), which is quite a rare species in Sweden.
29 January 2010
Congratulations to Per Henningsson on his thesis defense on 29 January. With opponent Bret Tobalske we witnessed a very interesting discussion about bird flight, and swift flight in particular. Now we are looking forward to a great party tonight, and wish Dr Per a successful postdoc and career! The red-flanked blue tail Tarsiger cyanurus shown her to the right is Per's latest acquisition on his Swedish list. Congratulations also to that!
25 January 2010
20 January 2010
08 January 2010
Greetings from Seattle! The Space Needle and the mountains looked on as two members of the flight lab, Anders and Melissa, gave talks at this year's SICB meeting. Melissa (who is currently talking about herself in third person) introduced the Integrative Migration Biology symposium she had organized, and Anders spoke about mixing theory and wind tunnels to increase our understanding of animal migration.
The symposium went very well, down to a last-minute replacement talk by Ken Lohmann for Tom Kunz, who was ill and couldn't attend the conference. A Science reporter was at the event speaking to several of the speakers, and we were approached about potentially writing a book (something that, if it happens, won't be happening anytime soon!).
There were many interesting flight talks, but since many of them were at the same time as the migration session, I didn't get to see them. Hopefully Anders did and he can fill you all in on all of the exciting research going on in the US. I personally got to meet up with old lab-mates and friends, and generally enjoyed the area (including some wonderfully fresh seafood!).