NVG Meeting 2019

Annual NVG meeting 2019 and PhD WORKSHOP
In Egmond aan Zee
Wednesday 27 November  – Friday 29 November 

The 2019 NVG meeting will be held from Wednesday November 27st to Friday November 29th in conference hotel ‘Zuiderduin’ in Egmond aan Zee, The Netherlands.

The meeting starts on Wednesday evening 18:00h, after the PhD workshop and will go untill Friday afternoon. Highlights of this meeting are the keynote lectures, including the Brill Baerends Lecture*, for which internationally renowned behavioural biologists are invited.

Our first plenary speaker is confirmed:

Susanne Åkesson

Long-distance navigation in birds: lessons learned from cage experiments and individual tracking

Susanne Åkesson, Department of Biology, Center for Animal Movement Research, Lund University, Sweden,  https://www.biology.lu.se/susanne-akesson


Spectacular long-distance migration has evolved repeatedly in animals enabling individuals to explore resources separated in time and space on a global scale. Young solo-migrating avian migrants rely on an endogenous migration program, encoding time, distance and direction of migration to reach their non-breeding sites of residency. To select an inherited migration direction during migration birds may rely on information from three different biological compasses, based on the sun, stars and the geomagnetic field. Birds may cover several thousands of kilometers on one seasonal migration path, but still the compass mechanism used during migration flights is not yet completely understood. How birds explore the geomagnetic field for compass orientation and navigation during long migrations, and how they may use magnetic information to detect their position in space is something I have explored by experiments and individual tracking. In this lecture, I will present my recent work and discuss some of the open questions that still needs to be addressed in order to understand the adaptations to long-distance migration in birds.


In my current research, I study movement ecology and especially the phenotypic characteristics of the endogenous migration program in birds, and how animals have adapted to cope with long migrations. Part of this work is dedicated to study the migration phenotype of young birds, and especially the variation and functional characteristics of the endogenous migration program guiding solo-migrating birds on their first migration. I am interested in how different internal and external factors may lead to variation between individuals and species in how the program is expressed. I also have a strong interest in research questions connecting biology and physics, more precisely in sensory ecology, involving studies of how animals use skylight polarization and the earth’s magnetic field for orientation. Some of these studies have been performed during expeditions in the high Arctic. I find common swifts (Apus apus) and their mobile lifestyle most fascinating and I study their non-breeding movements in a continental-wide tracking project since 2009, including populations from different parts of the European and Asian breeding range. I am currently a professor in animal ecology at Lund University and a director of the Center for Animal Movement Research (CAnMove) at Lund University. I am a fellow of the Royal Institute for Navigation in London, a fellow of the Royal Physiographical Society in Lund and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm.