Animal movement (completed)

Flexibility and constraints in animal movement patterns: ecology, evolution and annual cycles

About the project

Movement is a central element in the annual cycles of many animals. For birds breeding in seasonal environments of the northern hemisphere, reproduction is an annual event interrupted by a non-reproductive period where survival is critical and often involves movement. Life-history strategies in birds are often classified according to such spatiotemporal movement patterns, i.e. residents, partial migrants, short- and long-distance migrants. However, not all movement patterns are easily classified and the distinction is blurred due to large variability between populations and individuals. Also, the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms controlling movement transcend such classifications. Hence it is important to understand flexibility in the annual cycle and how movement affects and is affected by sensitivity to environmental variability and change. This calls for an integrative approach where animal movement is put into a life-history context. We will utilize readily available long-term data from four model systems. Firstly, migration data from numerous bird observatories will form a basis for studying large-scale environmental control of movement patterns across a range of species and life histories, and for constructing coarse-scale predictive models. The second model system, with detailed data on movement and breeding of three gull species, will allow us to compare long-lived species' flexible movement strategies with that of more short-lived species. Our third and fourth model systems contrast the generalist approach in tits and flycatchers with the specialized life-style of dippers, with respect to consequences and control of movement strategies. The project bridges gaps in research traditions and provides important steps towards an integration of animal movement, life history and population dynamics. Such efforts are necessary to more fully understand the sensitivity of biodiversity to environmental variability and change.


Hanko Bird Observatory, Finland
Lista Bird Observatory, Norway
Jomfruland Bird Observatory, Norway
Mandal Ringmerkingsgruppe, Norway
Jerstad Vilforvaltning, Norway
Ottenby Bird Observatory, Sweden
Capri, Ventotene and Ponza bird observatories, Italy


This project is funded by The Research Council of Norway.


Start: 1.4.2010. End: 31.05.2014.


Published Apr. 20, 2012 1:13 PM - Last modified Oct. 25, 2019 10:27 AM