Friday, August 7, 2009: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Blrm B, Albuquerque Convention Center
Libby Bacon, Boston University
Caroline Polgar, Boston University
This session will focus on animal migrations in a changing landscape. Migratory animals face unique challenges as they navigate over long distances. They require suitable stopover points, fair weather, and dependable food sources at regular points along the journey. They also rely on certain navigational cues to steer them in the right direction. These may be celestial, chemical, magnetic, geographic or another physical feature of the earth, air or water. Components of many of these energetic and navigational requirements have been altered, forcing migratory animals to compensate in ways that can be costly to the efficiency of their migration, if not altogether prohibitory. An animal that cannot stop over in the same places it used to, cannot find enough food to fuel itself, or is thrown off course by city lights or polluted waters may not reach its breeding, feeding or seasonal destination. Monitoring the movement of migratory species is difficult. Following an individual is cumbersome for many species and satellite tracking technology exists only for large animals. Researchers have developed creative methods for studying these animals, often adapting technologies from other fields of study. A broad scale of methods have been used from molecular markers and genetic testing to cross-continental tracking. Although the field of migration studies has advanced tremendously with recent technology, there is still a lot that we do not understand about how, where, and why animals migrate. Add to this the fact that the landscape has changed, due largely to human influences, and understanding animal migration becomes even more complex. In this session, speakers will present recent research of theirs describing the migration patterns of animals, with attention to impacts on migration caused by changes to the environment. Speakers of mixed experience levels, including graduate students, post docs, professors and professionals, will be included. Presentations will be on a wide variety of animals, habitats, and migration strategies covering terrestrial, aerial and aquatic migrations. This diverse group will provide participants and observers the opportunity to interact with one another, share methods and results, and potentially come away a broader understanding of the dynamic realm of animal migration.