Lund University
Animal Ecology Department of Ecology Lund University

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Migration Ecology

People

 

Professor Thomas Alerstam
Phone:+46 46 2223785
Email: Email address to Thomas Alerstam

Bird migration has remained my primary research interest ever since my Ph.D. thesis "Bird migration in relation to wind and topography" in 1976. This may at a first glance appear to be a narrow and specialised field, but if you look more closely into it you will soon find that the scope is interdisciplinary and varied in an extraordinarily challenging and exciting way! The bird migration field incorporates aspects ranging from flight performance, transport ecology, energetics and physiology, orientation and navigation to the evolution of migration strategies, life histories, and macroecological patterns of routes and distributions among the migratory birds. I wrote a general book about "Bird Migration" (English edition 1990, Cambridge University Press).

I have strived to make the bird migration research in Lund adopt a wide variety of approaches and tools, from the Lund wind tunnel for the study of bird flight to the use of orientation cage experiments. Furthermore, I am particularly fond of testing hypotheses about the process of bird migration with respect to overall performance (costs in time, energy and mortality) as well as to flight and orientation behaviour by using radar and satellite-based radio telemetry. In this way I try to exploit opportunities of "natural experiments" provided by migration under variable conditions at different times and places.

I have recently been involved in extensive radar studies of bird migration in the Arctic (research expeditions along the Northeast and Northwest Passages in Siberia and Canada, respectively), where there are special opportunities to investigate the birds' orientation capacities and the critical factors affecting the evolution of migration routes. Other current projects are concerned with satellite tracking of individual birds throughout their migratory journeys. This offers exciting possibilities of testing predictions about general performance, stopover/flight strategies and geometry of flight routes among different categories of migrants. Important categories investigated by satellite tracking are thermal soaring migrants like ospreys and buzzards, flapping flight migrants like geese and pelagic seabirds like skuas. The Swedish Research Council finances my research.

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Ph. D. student Jannika Boström
Phone:+46 46 2223789
Email: Email address to Jannika Boström

M.Sc. at Lund University during spring 2006 with the thesis "Orientation cage experiments with displaced juvenile wheatears (Oenanthe oenanthe) in the high Arctic". Accepted as a PhD student in August 2006 with the project title "Genetic migration programs and orientation in songbirds". My work will include comparisons between different populations and age classes, as well as between species. I will continue to work with the wheatear, but garden warblers (Sylvia borin) and possibly bluethroats (Luscinia svecica) will be studied as well. Emlen-funnels will be used for orientation studies and, as a co-operation with Stockholm University, birds will be filmed during the night using IR-lamps and security cameras in order to investigate migratory directions.

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Dr Oskar Brattström
Phone:+46 46 2223822
Email: Email address to Oskar Brattström

M.Sc at Lund University 2000 on the subject "Sun compass orientation in Vanessa atalanta". Started as Phd. student in September 2002 and my current research focus on migratory patterns and orientation in European butterflies. My main study species is still the red admiral, Vanessa atalanta, but I do some studies on other butterfly species as well. Methods used are analysis of video captures from orientation cages and studies of stable isotopes and genetic differences between butterflies from different areas. The primary objectives of my studies are to understand how the butterflies find their way during migration and which routes they follow.

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Dr Johan Bäckman
Phone:+46 46 2223788
Email: Email address to Johan Bäckman

Defended my thesis in April 2002. Graduate student at Dept. of Ecology, Lund University since 1995. I have been working with orientation in migratory birds, with special attention to body condition, magnetic orientation and orientation in free flight. It is obvious that the direction birds choose during migration is not only based on sensory information but also if they are physiologically prepared to take off for a migratory flight. My work has been carried out using funnel cages for measurement of the direction of activity and tracking radar for observation of free flying birds. I've had the pleasure to do some field work together with the migratory bird group at the University of Southern Mississippi. In my later studies have used a tracking radar to observe free flying birds on migration. I currently work mainly at the Nordic Gene Bank but also one day a week on radar ornithology projects.

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Dr Juliana Dänhardt
Phone:+46 46 2223613
Email: Email address to Juliana Dänhardt

M.Sc. at Lund University 1999 on stop-over ecology and departure decisions in European Robins during autumn migration. After a few years outside “University life”(working at different County administrations on questions related to nature conservation in farmland), I was accepted as PhD-student in January 2005 in a project working on stop-over ecology of migrating birds in farmland. My main interest focuses on how birds on migration use farmland as stop-over sites, and which aspects of the modern agriculture are favourable or unfavourable for different species. I am also investigating possible differences between organic and non-organic farming. To get a general overview about what happens during spring and autumn migration in farmland, I am monitoring birds on a number of farms in Scania, Southern Sweden. In a more special part, the project focuses on the European Golden Plover, a wader species which occurs in flocks of up to several thousand individuals during migration in Scania. Previous studies have shown that these birds prefer the most intensive used farmland in the western part of Scania as daytime roosting sites. By observing, colour-marking and radio-tracking birds, I’ll try to find out more about their doings here. Hopefully, I’ll soon be able to answer questions like: How long do individuals stay? What are they actually doing? Where do they feed, and when? Golden Plovers choose to spend a very energy-demanding period of their life in an area intensively used for agriculture. A fact you would expect to affect them – but in what way?

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Dr Martin Green
Phone:+46 46 2223816
Email: Email address to Martin Green

Ph. D student at the Bird Migration Group since Dec. 1997. My work covers a quite large piece of the "bird migration cake" with studies of everything from large-scale migration patterns down to individual flight behaviour. So far I have mainly worked with arctic-nesting waterbirds, geese and waders. Key issues in my studies are adaptations to wind, both how wind affects general migration intensity and how wind influences individual behaviour such as flight speed, flight direction and flight altitude. Another key question is the study of if migrating birds can gain anything energywise by flying in formation. I carry out my work by using radar (both tracking- and surveillance radar) and optical range finder for tracking birds in the process of migration. To get the possibility to follow migrating birds on a larger scale I use satellite- and radiotelemetry, so far we have followed the migrations of Dark-bellied Brent Geese and Bar-tailed Godwits with these methods. I also do some experimental work in the Lund wind tunnel concerning the formation flight

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Ph. D. student Johanna Grönroos
Phone:+46 46 2220574
Email: Email address to Johanna Grönroos

M. Sc. at Lund University 2004, with a master thesis on "Utilisation of the modern agricultural landscape by Golden Plovers during autumn migration". Accepted as a PhD student in the Migration Ecology Group later the same year but now in a different project. My research will now focus on migration and orientation in waders. I am going to investigate different migration patterns of waders and the relative importance of celestial and magnetic cues in their migratory orientation. I will use several methods to pursue the questions of this thesis, among other things, orientation cage experiments, DNA-analyses, stabile isotope analyses, use radio transmitters and analyses of ringing recoveries. The main bird species I plan to study are Dunlins, Little Stints and Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. The field work will be conducted in Sweden, mostly at Ottenby but also in Alaska during the Beringia Expedition.

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Dr Gudmundur A Gudmundsson
Phone:
Email: Email address to Gudmundur Gudmundsson

Now active at Náttúrufræðistofnun Íslands

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Professor Anders Hedenström
Phone:+46 46 2224142
Email: Email address to Anders Hedenström

My thesis was on "Ecology of Avian Flight", where I explored theories on bird flight, developed predictions and tested a few of them in the field. For postdoctoral studies I went to Cambridge and switched to bumblebees. Thereafter the focus is on bird aerodynamics, where we use methods such as digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV) to study wake dynamics and high speed video to study kinematics in a low turbulence wind tunnel. I am also interested in mechanical properties of feathers and how they sustain irradiative and mechanical wear. The results about flight from the wind tunnel are used to address questions about bird migration and flight performance in the wild.

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Ph. D. student Per Henningsson
Phone:+46 46 2223769
Email: Email address to Per Henningsson

M. Sc. at Skövde University 2005 in theoretical ecology with a masters thesis on “Aerodynamic properties of the swift (Apus apus)” performed in the wind tunnel in Lund. Started as a PhD-student at the department of theoretical ecology in December 2005 where I continue to investigate the aerodynamics of birds. My main study species is the swift and I study the aerodynamic performance of these birds both by experiments in the wind tunnel where detailed examination of the wake and wing beat kinematics of the birds can be made and by radar studies where the natural flight of the birds in the open airspace can be studied. The aim for my studies is to widen the knowledge and understanding of avian flight in general and the flight of swifts in particular.

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Dr Sara Henningsson
Phone:+46 46 2223614
Email: Email address to Sara Henningsson

B.Sc in Ecology, University of Georgia, USA, 2000. Later complemented coursework for M.Sc. at Lund University, 2003 with a thesis on the subject of large-scale patterns and correlates of species richness of Arctic breeding migrant shorebirds. Accepted as a PhD student in summer, 2003. The project focuses on species richness, distribution and evolution of migratory routes of birds in the circumpolar Arctic. Particular focus is on long-distance migrants and how their distributions on breeding grounds are influenced and limited by different aspects relating to migratory routes and over-wintering regions. How much of the distributions can be explained by contemporary accessibility of potential and suitable habitats that are necessary to facilitate links between migration- breeding- and wintering resources? Do these realized migration links of today to some degree reflect historical climate and habitat conditions? Are there, for example, traces in the contemporary distributions of Arctic shorebird populations from the dramatic climatic events and subsequent habitat changes of the latest glacial cycle? Do groups of birds that differ in migratory status (e.g. residents, short-, long-distance) or that differ in modes by which routes are inherited (socially vs. genetically) also differ in distributional patterns?

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Assistant Professor Niclas Jonzén
Phone:+46 46 2224828
Email: Email address to Niclas Jonzén

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Ph. D. student Håkan Karlsson
Phone:+46 46 2223613
Email: Email address to Håkan Karlsson

M. Sc. at the University College in Skövde 2005. However, I did my masters thesis in Lund ("The Wind and the Warblers: Influences of Wind on Speed and Direction among Long-Distance Migrating Passerines"). Accepted as a PhD student in winter 2006. My project deals with adaptations and constraints of spring and autumn migration in birds. The use of tracking radar will be central in the project. Observed behaviours will be analyzed and discussed within the context of selection pressures, age, sex, site-fidelity, influence of weather, experience, theoretical models/predictions etc.

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Dr Nils Kjellén
Phone:
Email: Email address to Nils Kjellén

Presented the thesis "Differential migration in raptors" in November 1999. Have studied the autumn migration of raptors past the Falsterbo peninsula since 1986. From the autumn 2001 I am responsible for the official counts of migrating birds at Falsterbo organised by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency. Participated in the Tundra expeditions to Northern Russia in 1994 and Arctic Canada in 1999. Studied avian predators, especially skuas, and concentrated on distribution of species, ages and phases. We started a project studying migrating raptors with the help of satellite telemetry in 1995. So far we have supplied 19 Ospreys and 9 Honey Buzzards with transmitters and followed most of them all the way from the Swedish breeding grounds to the wintering sites in Africa. In 2000 we also followed a short-distance migrant, Common Buzzard, from Southern Sweden to the wintering grounds in the Netherlands

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Dr Raymond Klaassen
Phone:+46 (0)462223796
Email: Email address to Raymond Klaassen

I studied biology at the Wageningen University (the Netherlands) where my interest in the behaviour of animals was nourished by research on parasitic wasps (Trichogramma sp.), ducks, waders and falcons. During my PhD studies at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) I studied the foraging behaviour of migratory swans at their stopover sites. In particular I studied how swans take advantage of spatial pattern in the distribution of their food (Potamogeton tubers). In this period I also joined three scientific expeditions to Russia to study waders and geese at their Siberian breeding grounds. In autumn 2006 I started a postdoc at the Migration Ecology group of the Animal Ecology department in Lund to study migration strategies in raptor birds. I am particularly interested in the interaction between migration and landscape properties. Using advanced satellite tracking techniques and geographical information system (GIS) applications I aim to reveal the small scale rules that govern a migratory journey.

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Dr Anders Kvist
Phone:+46 46 2220119
Email: Email address to Anders Kvist

M.Sc. at Lund University 1993 on thesis 'Energy intake and basal metabolism in passerine birds during migratory fat deposition'. Graduate student at Dept. of Ecology, Lund University since 1995. Research focus is on energetic aspects on bird migration. How fast and how much fuel energy do birds put on before departure on migratory flights? Are there physiological limitations to fuel deposition? How much energy do birds use when they fly? Does water or energy limit long distance migratory flights? What physiological changes do birds undergo in connection with migration? Currently I have a postdoc position at the Section for developmental Biology, Faculty of medicine at Lund University

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Ph. D. student Keith Larson
Phone:+46 46 2229014
Email: Email address to Keith Larson

I completed my undergraduate studies at The Evergreen State College in wildlife biology in 2000. Over the past decade I have followed migrating birds from the boreal and temperate forests to the tropics, formulating questions of how and why a bird can endure such long distance migrations. During these migrations, north to south and then back, constantly in the company of birds, I wondered what selective pressures shape migrant life histories. How do environmental gradients and density dependent factors modify and maintain migratory behavior? Do events on the breeding or wintering grounds affect future reproductive success and survivorship? How do behaviour, demographics, and population dynamics interact to maintain these populations? I have also spent many years studying population dynamics in albatross populations in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands, foraging ecology of seabirds, and the wintering ecology of Nearctic-Neotropical seabird migrants. I am currently a PhD student with Susanne Åkesson and co-supervised by Staffan Bensch starting my studies 2008. My thesis studies involve trying to understand what factors maintain the narrow secondary contact zone for two subspecies of willow warblers Phylloscopus trochilus in central Sweden. I am interested in whether hybridization occurs between these two subspecies, does assortative mating limit hybridization, and are there factors that limit hybrid recruitment and survivorship? In addition, I use stable isotope techniques to establish connectivity between the breeding and wintering grounds for each subspecies and conduct orientation experiments to determine if there are different directional preferences between the two subspecies.

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Professor Åke Lindström
Phone:+46 46 2224968
Email: Email address to Åke Lindström

I did my PhD at Lund University in 1990 on "Stopover ecology of migrating birds". Did a PostDoc year at Groningen University, The Netherlands in 1991 and held a PostDoc at Lund University 1992-1998, studying the energetics and fuel deposition of migrating birds. After that I was employed by Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (with Theunis Piersma) and as a lecturer in Ecology at Lund University. My main research interest is in energetics and phenotypic flexibility of migrants, with special emphasis on flight studies of Knots in the Lund wind tunnel. I am now head of the Swedish Bird Monitoring Programme. I am also chairman of the board for Ottenby Bird Observatory.

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Dr Rachel Muheim
Phone:
Email: Email address to Rachel Muheim

M.Sc. at the Zoological Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland in 1997. Since October 1999 PhD student in the Bird Migration Group at the Dept. of Animal Ecology, Lund University, Sweden. My project focuses on the orientation of migrating birds and I am in particular investigating the physiology and function of their magnetoreception system and try to set the new knowledge into a larger ecological context. Both histological methods and behavioural experiments are used to pursue the research questions. Now I have a postdoc position at the Department of Biology, Virginia Tech, USA, in John Phillips research group. To read more about my current research, please visit my personal homepage.

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Ph. D. student Florian Muijres
Phone:+46 46 222 3768
Email: Email address to Florian Muijres

I am an aerospace engineer specialized in aerodynamics of flapping wings, so this is the place for me! For my MSc thesis at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands I have been working on flow visualization around flapping wings. The results were primarily relevant for insect flight and fish swimming. For this study I used a model wing which flaps in a soap-film, so – as you can imagine – this was very theoretical. In the summer of 2006 I started my PhD studies here in Lund and I am back to air again: I am now looking at the aerodynamics of flying bats. It is incredible to see how maneuverable and what elegant flyers these bats are, especially with respect to those big metal things which we call airplanes. We still have a lot to learn from nature if it comes to flight and that is exactly what I am trying to do…

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Dr Anna L. K. Nilsson
Phone:+46 46 2223822
Email: Email address to Anna Nilsson

Master of Science 2002 at Lund University with a master thesis on comparisons of migrating and sedentary blue tits regarding prevalence of blood parasite infections and basal metabolic rate. Accepted as PhD student in September 2002. My research will focus on partial migration mainly in the Blue tit and aims at increasing our knowledge of regulating mechanisms. I will continue where my master thesis ended, by investigate the intensity of blood parasite infections and the metabolic rates in migrating and sedentary Blue tits, but also conduct comparative studies regarding behaviour and condition. The fieldwork is conducted by capturing Blue tits where they can be assumed to be of either two categories, migrants or residents, which can be done at two different sites, namely Falsterbo Lighthouse garden, where Falsterbo Bird Observatory is ringing migrating birds in spring and autumn, and the Revinge area, where a nestbox project is ringing high numbers breeding and juvenile blue tits every year

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Dr Mikael Rosén
Phone:
Email: Email address to Mikael Rosén

M. Sc. at Lund University 1998 on the thesis "Flight performance of the Eleonoras falcon Falco eleonorae". I have been a PhD student since May 1998, focusing on flight mechanics and aerodynamics of birds. Most of my research is performed in the windtunnel where kinematics and power consumption can be measured in great detail. The primary objective is to understand a wingbeat of a bird and to estimate the mechanical cost of flight. These questions are of course interesting as such, but they will also contribute to the understanding of bird migration and bird ecology as a whole - when answered...

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Technician Inga Rudebeck
Phone:
Email: Email address to Inga Rudebeck

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Dr Roland Sandberg
Phone:+46 46 2223793
Email: Email address to Roland Sandberg

I completed my PhD studies on 28 September 1990 by presenting my thesis "Celestial and magnetic orientation of migrating birds: Field experiments with nocturnal passerine migrants at different sites and latitudes", at the Department of Animal Ecology, Lund University, Sweden. I did two years of PostDoc, the first JW Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, Germany where I studied the homing behaviour of domestic pigeons. The second year was spent at the University of Southern Mississippi, USA studying the orientation performance of North American songbirds. I held a Postdoctoral position at Lund 1993-1997, continuing my orientation research by examining the importance of energetic condition, especially in long-distance migrants. Currently, I am responsible for a collaborative project "Migration Ecology of Intercontinental Avian Migrants" together with Prof. Frank R. Moore, University of Southern Mississippi and co-responsible for a cooperative project concerning orientation mechanisms in shorebirds together with Dr. Gudmundur A. Gudmundsson, Icelandic Institute of Natural History, Iceland. My main research interests are the migratory orientation of animals, especially orientation in relation to energetic status, ecological context and migratory habits; ecological adaptations of bird migrants during the transition period between migration and breeding; behavioural ecology and ecophysiology of bird migrants.

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Dr Roine Strandberg
Phone:+46 46 2223614
Email: Email address to Roine Strandberg

M. Sc. at Lund University 2003, studying stopover and migration strategies in the Osprey. PhD student at the Migration Ecology Group since Mars 2004 on the subject "Migration strategies in raptors: adaptations for flight, stopover and foraging". The project aim is to reveal the total migration performance of raptors migrating from Sweden to West Africa. Ospreys and Honey Buzzards have been followed with satellite telemetry since 1995, and to compare with a short-distance migratory species, Common Buzzards have been followed since 2000. I started my work as a complementary study to the satellite tracking in combination with field observations of Ospreys at the stopover site Lake Hammarsjön in autumn 2002. This study was continued during spring and autumn 2003 and completed during spring 2004. I looked at differences between age and sex categories concerning foraging technique, fishing success and timing of migration. The project has continued to provide raptors with transmitters during the last two years. As a new study species, and West Africa traveller, two Marsh Harriers have been provided with transmitters during the summer of 2004. This species has never before been followed with satellite telemetry and we will continue the study during the PhD period.

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Dr Kasper Thorup
Phone:
Email: Email address to Kasper Thorup

I did my PhD project titled, The migratory programme in birds: ecological and evolutionary consequences, at Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen. The project was carried out as a joint project with the Bird Migration Group in Lund. Currently, I am working parttime with raptors followed by satellite-telemetry. The work is centred around testing hypothesis on how the migratory orientation system is carried out in birds using satellite telemetry and ringing data for comparison. I am also doing research on Little Owl in Denmark, including radio-telemetry.

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Dr Thomas P Weber
Phone:+46 46 2223789
Email: Email address to Thomas Weber

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Dr Liv Wennerberg
Phone:
Email: Email address to Liv Wennerberg

M.Sc. at Lund University 1994 on the thesis "Effects of patenity on paternal care in polygynous European starlings". Graduate student at the Dept. of Ecology, Lund University since 1995, with the project 'Genetic variation and migration patterns of waders', including work at the Dept. of Animal and Plant Sciences at Sheffield University 1999 in collaboration with Prof. T Burke. Studies the genetic differentiation between populations on a global scale, using molecular genetic methods, such as microsatellite analysis and DNA sequencing. The work involves three main study species: Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper and White-rumped Sandpiper. Uses molecular markers for studies of bird migration, identifying genetically differentiated populations on migration stop-over and wintering sites by analyses of DNA from e.g. a feather or a drop of blood. Thereby, accessing the breeding origin of migrating and wintering birds of different populations, and studying their annual migration patterns. Now active as "miljørådgivare" at the Norwegian lænsstyrelse.

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Ph. D. student Marta Wolf
Phone:46 46 2221785
Email: Email address to Marta Wolf

M.Sc. at Lund University in animal ecology with a thesis concerning body lift production and kinematics of flap-bounding flight in budgerigars. I started my PhD studies at the department of theoretical ecology in the beginning of 2004 and the topic of my thesis is “Aerodynamics and ecology of different flight modes in vertebrates”. I have been working mainly in the wind tunnel in Lund, studying kinematics as well as looking at the flow-dynamics of the wake, using the DPIV technique developed at our lab. I continued to work with both budgerigars and other bird species using bounding flight. I hope to take a closer look at the wake structure of flap-bounding flight as well as the wake of gliding flight in jackdaws. I’m also involved in our latest project concerning the flight and wake dynamics of bats. I hope that my research will contribute to further understanding of the flight mechanics and development of more general flight theory.

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Professor Susanne Åkesson
Phone:+46 46 2223705
Email: Email address to Susanne Åkesson

Doctoral thesis (Sept 1995) on "Avian Migratory Orientation: Geographical, Temporal and Geomagnetic Effects" at the Dept of Ecology, Lund University. Postdoctoral studies together with Prof. R. Wehner, Dept of Zoology, Zürich University, in Switzerland where I studied landmark navigation in desert ants. I am currently financed by the Swedish Science Research Council and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning. I work on sensory ecology of animal navigation and orientation. In particular, I study long-distance navigation and orientation in migratory birds, insects and sea turtles tracked by satellite telemetry. My research interest also covers magnetoreception, evolution of migration routes, population differences, genetics and phenotypic plasticity of orientation and migration characters

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