Thursday, 18 June 2015

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 18 June 2015

Biosciences Seminar Series - Spring 2015
18 June 2015 - 1pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)

Unravelling the secrets of the world's highest flying goose

Dr. Lucy Hawkes

It's the final talk of this year's Swansea Biosciences Seminar Series! To end in style, we will have a high-flying talk by Dr Lucy Hawkes, lecturer in Physiological Ecology at the Department of Biosciences at the University of Exeter. To understand how animals achieve to do those amazing performances, such as flying over the Himalayas, Lucy uses a large range of fancy technology, from satellite telemetry, heart rate logging, accelerometry, to metabolic rate measurements and respirometry. So, don't miss this one!

Birds have been shown to make some of the longest, fastest and most impressive migrations of any, principally because flight permits migrants to cover huge distances in relatively short periods of time. Different species of birds may travel over demanding geophysical barriers, such as mountain ranges, deserts and vast expanses of ocean. Bar-headed geese (Anser indicus) make biannual migrations between breeding areas on the Tibetan Plateau, China and Mongolia, and wintering areas in India. Their northward springtime migration must therefore include a formidable northward crossing of the Himalayan mountains onto the Tibetan Plateau. 

Some large bird species in Asia avoid the steep climb by migrating around the Himalayan mountains or by heading west towards the Caspian sea. Bar-headed geese, however, are known to migrate straight over the Himalayas, an energetic feat that has long been considered as one of the world’s highest altitude migrations. Using satellite tracking and archival heart rate logging, we describe the strategy used by bar-headed geese to carry out this impressive migration and some of the ways in which they may save energy. We also use physiological data to parameterize a model to estimate the maximum altitude to which a bar-headed goose might be able to fly in still conditions.

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

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