Learning to migrate - what shapes the migratory behaviour of white storks?
Supervisor: Andrea Flack, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior
Our research group are looking for a Doctoral candidate to explore how migration behaviour of white storks develops throughout their lifetime. Migration journeys are energetically expensive. In birds, flight costs often depend upon environmental features such as horizontal and vertical winds that vary with location and time. White storks utilize vertical air currents in a soaring–gliding fashion to fly with minimal energy expenditure. Yet, migration also involves navigating to the right destination, and finding the most suitable wintering habitats. Thus, young birds do not only need to develop efficient soaring skills, choose the best routes, but also combine these skills with experiences during winter.
The project will involve the analysis of existing high-resolution GPS trajectories, but the student can also participate in ongoing field work, including experimental studies and animal tracking.
The project will:
(1) explore how fine-scale soaring behaviour (within and between thermal updrafts) changes over time;
(2) investigate migration route selection as individuals gain more flight experiences; and
(3) determine how spatial learning & memory affect route & wintering choices over multiple years.
The University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Society are equal opportunity employers that are committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or disability. They seek to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women to apply (Equal opportunity). Persons with disabilities are explicitly encouraged to apply.
They will be given preference if appropriately qualified (contact +49 7531 88 4016).