News

Welcome aboard to our new student Eran Altschuler

25 October 2018

We welcome our new M.Sc. student Eran Altschuler!

Congratulations and warm wishes to our students Inbal and Yosef

27 January 2018

To Inbal for the birth of her daughter, and to Yosef for the birth of his son. We wish them and their families joy and happiness

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New publications

Feather moult and bird appearance are correlated with global warming over the last 200 years

05 July 2019

Kiat, Y., Vortman, Y., and N. Sapir. (2019) Feather moult and bird appearance are correlated with global warming over the last 200 years. Nature Communications 10 (2540). doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-10452-1 ABSTRACT...

Fruit consumption in migratory passerines is limited by water ingestion rather than by body water balance

05 July 2019

Domer, A., Shochat, A., Ovadia, O., and N. Sapir (2019) Fruit consumption in migratory passerines is limited by water ingestion rather than by body water balance. Journal of Avian Biology...

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Large birds travel farther in homogeneous environments

Tucker, M.A., Alexandrou, O., Bierregaard, R.O., Jr. et al. (Including Sapir, N.). 2019. Large birds travel farther in homogenous environments. Global Ecology and Biogeography (In press) doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12875

ABSTRACT

Aim: Animal movement is an important determinant of individual survival, population dynamics and ecosystem structure and function. Nonetheless, it is still unclear how local movements are related to resource availability and the spatial arrangement of resources. Using resident bird species and migratory bird species outside the migratory period, we examined how the distribution of resources affects the movement patterns of both large terrestrial birds (e.g., raptors, bustards and hornbills) and waterbirds (e.g., cranes, storks, ducks, geese and flamingos).
Location: Global.
Time period: 2003–2015.
Major taxa studied: Birds.
Methods: We compiled GPS tracking data for 386 individuals across 36 bird species. We calculated the straight‐line distance between GPS locations of each individual at the 1‐hr and 10‐day time‐scales. For each individual and time‐scale, we calculated the median and 0.95 quantile of displacement. We used linear mixed‐effects models to examine the effect of the spatial arrangement of resources, measured as enhanced vegetation index homogeneity, on avian movements, while accounting for mean resource availability, body mass, diet, flight type, migratory status and taxonomy and spatial autocorrelation.
Results: We found a significant effect of resource spatial arrangement at the 1‐hr and 10‐day time‐scales. On average, individual movements were seven times longer in environments with homogeneously distributed resources compared with areas of low resource homogeneity. Contrary to previous work, we found no significant effect of resource availability, diet, flight type, migratory status or body mass on the non‐migratory movements of birds.
Main conclusions: We suggest that longer movements in homogeneous environments might reflect the need for different habitat types associated with foraging and reproduction. This highlights the importance of landscape complementarity, where habitat patches within a landscape include a range of different, yet complementary resources. As habitat homogenization increases, it might force birds to travel increasingly longer distances to meet their diverse needs.

About us

We are a group of scientists devoted to the study of animal flight, including animal movement ecology, behavior, physiology and biomechanics. We study wild animals in the field and in the lab using a diversity of research approaches. We welcome applications for M.Sc. and Ph.D. studies and post-doctoral work in our group at the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology at the University of Haifa.