Movement & Dispersal – University of Copenhagen

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CMEC > Research > Movement & Dispersal

Dispersal and movement are fundamental processes influencing the spatio-temporal distribution of life on Earth. Nevertheless, our understanding of these processes is rather poor. Dispersal and movement are inherited difficult to observe as movements can occur over long distances and dispersal often occur over long time scales being dependent on rare events. Thus, in lack of hard data we often infer dispersal from estimated past distributions or from observation of resulting expansion of ranges.

Long-distance migrations
Our current ability to predict dispersal in climate change models focusing on multiple species is so limited that we generally assume either full dispersal or no dispersal at all. The increasing appreciation of the importance of this process on spatiotemporal patterns of biodiversity has recently manifested itself in a new emerging research field, coined movement ecology. Research at the center within this theme focuses on being able to track individuals globally with a strong emphasis on the fascinating phenomena of long-distance migrations in birds.

The main research questions are:

  • How does the movement of individuals affect longer-term dispersal events
  • How can we link movement research in the marine environment to the terrestrial environment
  • Where and when do migratory animals go and how can we improve spatio-temporal distribution data with individual data

Research Projects


In collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark, we are constructing a satellite system to track smaller birds from space and with higher accuracy than is possible today. We expect to be able to launch the specially designed CubeSat (DTUsat) during 2012.

 

Project leader:
Kasper Thorup
CMEC researchers:
Carsten Rahbek

Anders P. Tøttrup

Mikkel Willemoes

Marta L. Vega

Katherine Snell



We use small geolocators (light-logging tags) to map the migration routes and winter grounds of a suite of small passerines wintering in sub-Saharan Africa. The data describes the precise spatio-temporal distributions important for understanding the seasonal changes in bird distributions.

 

Project leaders:
Kasper Thorup and Anders P. Tøttrup
CMEC researchers:
Mikkel Willemoes

Marta L. Vega

Mathilde Lerche-Jørgensen

Lykke Pedersen

Katherine Snell



This project aims to investigate the spatio-temporal dynamics of overwintering Palearctic migrants in Ghana tracking migrants with radio telemetry.

 

Project leader:
Kasper Thorup

CMEC researchers:
Anders P. Tøttrup

Mikkel Willemoes Kristensen

Mathilde Lerche-Jørgensen

Lykke Pedersen