Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Science Club Events - 25 February 2014

Science Club Events - Lent 2014
25 February 2014 - 12:30pm - Zoology Museum (W129)

(note different time)

Move, move, move

Prof. Martin Wikelski

Attaching a transmitter to a dragonfly. Image downloaded from http://images.nationalgeographic.com/

Probably you have seen many wildlife documentaries about researchers tracking the movements of animals by attaching senders to the individuals, such as GPS collars. You might have also heard talking about the 'biologging revolution' of the last years, which has allowed us to detect and record animal movements to an unprecedented detail. Hence, you might well think that we therefore have now obtained a good understanding of how, when, and why animals move.

Well, wrong. At least for the majority of organisms, our knowledge is close to zero, as they are too small to be fitted with any of the existing transmitters, even most of the 'high-tech' ones. Novel technological solutions are needed to develop more powerful and lightweight transmitters. One of the key players in this field is our next seminar speaker, Prof. Martin Wikelski, Director of the Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen (Germany).

Martin is an 'animal tracker' - he has dedicated his scientific efforts to develop new ways to observe and record ('track') the movements of animals (e.g. see here), especially small songbirds and insects, such as dragonflies or Monarch butterflies. For example, Martin has ideated and leads the ICARUS initiative, which will use a dedicated satellite to set up a remote sensing platform for scientists to track small organisms globally from the space. Or, previously Martin developed/lead ARTS ('Automated Radio Telemetry System'), set up on Barro Colorado Island in Panama, a truly pioneering project at the time.    

But what new biological insights have been obtained through these fancy new technologies? Well, come and listen to Martin @ 12:30pm in the Zoology Museum!
Image from:  http://images.nationalgeographic.com/


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