Target: Dr. Roland Kays, North Carolina State University and Dr. Gil Bohrer, Ohio State University
Goal: Commend scientific developments aiding in the conservation of the Galapagos Albatross
Animal movements are influenced by environmental factors including weather, type of habitat, and anthropogenic activity. Thanks to innovation such as the new environmental-data automated track annotation (Env-DATA) system, scientists can now access larger amounts of environmental data in a free and easy-to-use platform that removes technical difficulties and simplifies data manipulation.
Resolving scientific and technical challenges improves the understanding of animal migration, allowing for greater conservation efforts. Env-DATA is groundbreaking in addressing the environmental challenges of animals including Galapagos Albatrosses. Co-founder of Env-DATA Dr. Roland Kays describes the system as “a powerful tool for understanding how weather and land forms affect migration patterns.”
This new approach in the field of movement ecology, which investigates the patterns, mechanisms, causes, and consequences of organismal movement from one place to another, combines GPS tracking data with satellite weather and terrain information. The Env-DATA system has been used in collaboration with wildlife research partners from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ensuring its applicability to conservation.
Dr. Gil Bohrer of Ohio State University led a research team from the Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany, the U.S. Geological Survey in Alaska, the University of Illinois, and the University of Konstanz in Germany in a case study of the Galapagos Albatross. Scientists used the system to track the relationship of these critically endangered pelagic birds to wind, ocean productivity, and chlorophyll concentration.
The study found that adult albatrosses tracked individually by GPS make long-range trips to preferred productive areas, indicated by satellite data of glowing chlorophyll associated with greater food sources. It was also found that wind assists their return flights but presents challenges in their outbound flights. To expend less energy, albatrosses prefer tail or side winds. The use of this system to study albatrosses has facilitated a new understanding of their migration patterns in response to the changing environment.
Please sign this petition to applaud scientists for launching a sophisticated yet user-friendly tool that will help to conserve wildlife through increased awareness of their ecological and physical environmental challenges.
Dear Dr. Roland Kays, North Carolina State University and Dr. Gil Bohrer, Ohio State University
I would like to congratulate you and your research team for launching Env-DATA and utilizing this innovative tool in a case study analyzing the migration of the Galapagos Albatross. This new approach to investigating the patterns, mechanisms, causes, and effects of animal movement simplifies data manipulation while providing a greater wealth of information than ever possible. Combining GPS tracking data with satellite weather and terrain information increases the likelihood of making important discoveries about the environment and the how it will affect animal populations.
Greater understanding of external environmental factors influencing animal migration can potentially aid in the conservation of endangered species including the Galapagos Albatross. Improved technology helps to answer questions about the changing environment and allows us to make predictions about animal movements, increasing our ability to protect wildlife. I appreciate that Env-DATA can be used by researchers of all levels of technical ability for a wide range of movement data types and research questions.
Thank you for using Env-DATA to link the flight of albatrosses with information about the environment. The inclusion of these endangered animals in your case study was a great choice to demonstrate the system’s ability to illustrate why these birds would travel to the coast of South America to forage. Please continue to apply scientific and technological advances to the field of conservation research in order to save species and ecosystems.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Susanna Chan via Flickr