Anders Hedenström

Anders Hedenström

Professor

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Research

Research interests

Animal migration is the most fascinating subject of biology and studying it requires approaches from various scientific disciplines. My own research focuses on flight of birds and more recently bats, where these animals are observed when flying in the Lund University wind tunnel dedicated for this. Here, we use state of the art methods to study wing beat kinematics and to visualize wake vortices and flows near the surfaces of wings. By doing so, we can draw conclusions about the magnitude, direction and time history of aerodynamic forces, and the information obtained help us to build better theoretical models about animal flapping flight. For example, recently our lab, the animal flight lab, discovered that bats use a leading edge vortex to generate lift when flying slowly, which is the same mechanism that allows bumblebees to buzz around between flowers.

Our main inspiration comes from the animals’ behaviour and performance in the wild, and therefore a long term goal is to be able to transfer knowledge that we gain from wind tunnel experiments to help interpret and explain the flight and migration of birds and bats in the wild. I am currently making an effort to initiate a collaborative study of bat migration across and around the Baltic. These goals agree with the goals of CAnMove, and a dream is to be able to track small wild birds and bats during their migrations to find out more about the strategies and limits of animal migration.

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