Silke Bauer


Silke Bauer
Silke Bauer (Foto © Archiv Vogelwarte)
Dr. rer. nat. Silke Bauer
Department of Bird Migration
Seerose 1
6204 Sempach

0041 41 462 97 85 (Phone)




Animal migration


  • stochastic dynamic models
  • individual-based models
  • spatially-explicit models
  • grid-based models
  • spatial analyses

Current Projects

1. Annual routines of migratory birds 

  1. Identify key processes in the annual cycle incl. knock-on effects
  2. Assess impact of environmental change along flyways
  3. Explore the degree to which species adapt to changes (identify timescales for changes)
  4. Evolution of migratory pathways

2. Spring migration as a sensitive part in the life-cycle of Arctic-breeding birds
Central questions include

  • How should birds schedule spring migration and what are the expected fitness-effects?
  • Which stop-over sites should they use and when should they initiate the next migratory step? 
  • What impact will climatic or human-driven actions and management have?

3. How does the degree of information shape migration strategies?

4. Which roles do migrants play in the spread of parasites and the dynamics of diseases?


Research Interests

My major research interests are the migration of animals, in particular the timing of migration, the cues animals use before and during migration and how the level of environmental information affects migration strategies and their consequences. Thus, I’m interested in the (proximate) factors that shape migration, what are the individual fitness effects of particular migration strategies (and ultimately, the population-dynamical consequences), but also how climatic or human-driven changes along migratory routes may affect individual migration behaviours and fates.

Furthermore, I’m also interested in the role of migratory animals in shaping diversity and processes in communities, particularly by the transport of propagules and parasites, nutrients and energy as well as by their trophic influences.


  • 1998-2001: PhD at the Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Germany
  • 1993-1997: MSc Biology at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany
  • 1992-1993: Graduate study Biochemistry at the University Witten-Herdecke, Germany
  • 1990-1992: BSc Biology at the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany


Key publications

For full publication list, see my ResearcherID  C-3524-2008

S. Bauer & B.J. Hoye (2014). Migratory animals couple biodiversity and ecosystem functioning worldwide. Science 343, 4 April 2014

S. Bauer and M. Klaassen (2013). Models of animal migration behaviour – their diversity, structure and use. Journal of Animal Ecology 82: 498-508.

J. M. McNamara, Z. Barta, M. Klaassen and S. Bauer (2011). Cues and the optimal timing of activities under environmental changes. Ecology Letters 14: 1183-1190.

S. Bauer, B.A. Nolet, J. Giske, J.W. Chapman, S. Akesson, A. Hedenstroem, and J. Fryxell (2011). Cues and decision rules in animal migration. In “Migration – a new synthesis (eds. E.-J. Milner-Gulland, A.R.E. Sinclair, J. Fryxell) . Oxford University Press.

S. Bauer, Bruno J Ens, and M. Klaassen (2010). Many routes leading to Rome: Potential causes for the multi-route migration system of Red Knots Calidris canutus islandica. Ecology 91(6):1822-1831.

S.Hahn, S.Bauer, F.Liechti (2009) The natural link between Europe and Africa - 2.1 billion birds. OIKOS 118: 624-626 Full article: here

S. Bauer, M. van Dinther, K.-A. Høgda, M. Klaassen & J. Madsen (2008). The consequences of climate-driven stop-over sites changes on migration schedules and fitness of Arctic geese. Journal of Animal Ecology 77(4), pp. 654-660. Full article: here

S. Bauer, P. Gienapp & J. Madsen (2008). The relevance of local environmental conditions for departure decision changes en route in migrating geese. Ecology 89(7), pp. 1953–1960. Full article: here

S. Hahn, S.Bauer, and M. Klaassen (2008). Quantification of allochthonous nutrient input into freshwater bodies by herbivorous waterbirds. Freshwater Biology 53(1), pp. 181-193. Full article: here