Ecosystems In The Sky

    Project: Research

    Project Details


    Migration is a fundamental natural process, involving periodic mass movements that redistribute species, species interactions and biomass on a continental scale, with impacts of nutrient and resource transfer affecting ecosystems and societies worldwide. However, great gaps remain in our understanding of the structure of migration system and the complex species interactions that are essential for their development. I am using a highly novel multi-species approach and cutting-edge radar and satellite techniques to map a largely undescribed migratory flyway of migrating micro- and macro-insects and birds that fly over the Indian Ocean, connecting India with East Africa. This ecosystem in the sky contains the world’s longest migration scaled to bodysize, the globe skimmer dragonfly’s (Pantala flavescens). And it is suggested that another champion migrant, the Amur falcon (Falco amurensis), has evolved to use the Indian Ocean Flyway (IOF) just to hunt this insect. Currently these ecological links are unexplored and present an outstanding opportunity to investigate migration in an eco-evolutionary framework. Key aspects of the IOF that remains unkown include: the spatio-temporal scale of the IOF biomass exchange, species interactions during cross-ocean migration and effects of wind and aeroecological adaptations for transoceanic migration.
    Effective start/end date2019/03/012022/03/01

    Collaborative partners

    • Lund University (lead)
    • University of Exeter
    • Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology
    • Wildlife Institute of India