I got interested in animal movement ecology during my PhD when I studied how foraging Bewick’s Swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii respond to spatial pattern in the distribution of their food. By manipulating food densities in the field I could show that these swans had knowledge about the patchy distribution of their prey and adjusted their movement accordingly.
Currently I am a postdoc in Thomas Alerstam’s Migration Ecology Group (Lund University). Here I study how landscape properties and weather shape routes and migration strategies in birds. For example, I have studied regional variation in daily time budgets of migrating Ospreys Pandion haliaetus, using GPS-based satellite telemetry. The detailed trackings revealed that in Europe, where feeding opportunities are plentiful, the Ospreys frequently interrupted their flights in order to feed, and thus only travelled a few hours per day. Such fly-and-forage migration strategy was not possible in the Sahara, where food is absent, resulting in more travel hours and thus longer daily distances.
Another aspect I study is to what extent and where migrating animals drift with the wind or overcompensate. Finally I am interested in how migration is fitted within the annual cycle, and how problems during migrations (delays) affect breeding performance.