Bird migration
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    Modelling individual movement trajectories of a trans-Sahara migrant based on continuous recordings of light, activity, air pressure and temperature

    Multi-sensor loggers are an important tool to study movements of small birds year-round. They weigh about 1.3 g and can store data on light, air pressure, activity and temperature every 5 min. over a whole year. Loggers storing only light have been used for more than 10 years to monitor the year-round position of an animal. However, positioning by light is strongly affected by all kinds of shading effects (clouds, topography, vegetation, see ). New software has been developed to combine the position estimates with a movement model, which allows not only calculating a potential track, but also gives an estimate of inaccuracy.

    The aim of this thesis (master or bachelor) is to reconstruct from the different parameters the most likely migratory route by incorporating the activity providing accurate flight time into the movement model and make use of the air pressure to filter potential stopover sites and consider wind condition en route at the specific height of flight. In the optimal case the thesis would result in an R-package for open source application.


    The candidate should have a good mathematical background and programming skills. He/she must be willing to get familiar with movement models and how to use global databases (e.g. height models, weather data).

    Contact and further information

    Swiss Ornithological Institute
    Dr. Felix Liechti
    Seerose 1
    CH-6204 Sempach
    Tel: +41 41 462 97 82