Tracking global movements
In this work we track several shorebird species during their migrations across the world (red knots, sanderlings, bar-tailed godwits, and whimbrels). We do so in order to investigate how migrating individuals respond to typical global change problems, as there are Arctic warming, land reclamation, and fisheries.
The long-distance migrant shorebirds that we study all breed in the High Arctic and spend the long non-breeding season at lower latitudes, from Wadden Sea to tropical regions as Banc d’Arguin (Mauritania), Barr al Hikman (Oman), and the Bijagós Archipelago (Guinee-Bissau). By travelling the world, these birds have to deal with different global-change problems, most notably climate change at their Arctic breeding grounds. Through their migrations, the different human-induced problems that they face at different sites become connected. For example, the difficulty to arrive on time at their rapidly warming breeding grounds may be strengthen due to the loss of fueling sites further south (e.g. due to land reclamations). By tracking individuals these problems will be revealed to us, which could help us design conservation and mitigation programs.Read more +
24 April 2021Jan van Gils and his team found back 13 satellite-tagged Red knots. Here you see Baie de St Jean on the left and Abelgh Eiznaya on the right. Photo: Tim Oortwijn.
The Red knot behaves like the canary in a coal mine
14 November 2020Jan van Gils hopes that research on migratory birds will be used to tackle the climate problem. Dutch interview in Noord Hollands Dagblad.
8 June 2020NWO has awarded a Veni grant worth 250,000 euros to Thomas Lameris to further develop his ideas on climate-proof animal migrations.