Ontogeny of Migration
In this project researchers aim to disentangle genetic and learned components in migratory routines, capitalising on the natural difference in global distribution between two subspecies of red knot Calidris canutus islandica and C. c. canutus.
They design a series of lab- and field experiments to investigate how experience shapes individual behaviour.
Secondly, they aim to elucidate how earlier experience shape consistent individual differences in behaviour (i.e. personalities). This is executed in two steps: (1) they investigate how diet manipulation (and consequent physiological adjustment) affects exploration behaviour during a novel environment test, and (2) how birds with different levels of experience (juveniles and adults) differ in exploration behaviour in response to changes in food source.
Finally, the researchers examine the idea that some personalities (as established in lab trials) may be more likely to adapt to different migratory routines than others (as examined through tracking the same birds with transmitters on their migration journeys).