Movement ecology is a developing academic pursuit, combining expertise in a variety of fields, including biology, ecology, botany, environmental science, physics, mathematics, virology and others.
It has been largely developed by a Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher, Prof. Ran Nathan, who heads the Movement Ecology Laboratory in the Department of Evolution, Systematics and Ecology at the university's Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences.. It involves the study of how plant and animal matter travels from one place to another, sometimes for great distances and in highly surprising ways.
The research group now at work at the Hebrew University's Institute for Advanced Studies was convened at the initiative and under the leadership of Prof. Nathan and includes participants from the University of California at Berkeley, the University of California at Davis, Princeton University, Stony Brook University and Rutgers University, all from the U.S.; the Spanish Research Council; and from the Hebrew University, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology.
Prof. Nathan emphasizes that organism movement research is central to the understanding of how ecological systems work and has important implications for human life. A comprehensive understanding of movement as a process will help to conserve biodiversity, adapt to changes produced by global warming, and cope with environmental threats such as infectious diseases, invasive alien species, agricultural pests and the spread of allergens.
The field of movement ecology and Prof. Nathan were given a large boost of recognition in a recent special issue of Science magazine on migration and dispersal. The issue included an article by Prof. Ran Nathan on his specialty of long-distance dispersal of plants.
In addition, the same issue contained a news article which largely focused on the work of Nathan and his students, as well as others in the U.S., Britain and Australia, focusing on dispersal of both plants and animals.
The article noted that researchers have sought, for centuries, "to understand when, why and how various species crawl, swim, fly, float or hoof it to new locales. That work has led to maps of migration routes and details about dispersals."
"But," the article quoted Prof. Nathan as saying, "few biologists have tried to fit those data into a big picture of movement in general." Now, said the article, through the new discipline called movement ecology, Nathan and others "are beginning to derive testable hypotheses about the mobile behaviors of animals, microbes and even the seeds of plants. Their goal is to join empirical work to theories and to build models that fill in gaps in our understanding of movement -- be it over millimeters or continents or by groups of individuals – in the natural world."
Last year, Nathan was chosen as the winner of the Hebrew University President's Prize for the Outstanding Young Researcher for his pioneering work on seed dispersal. In May this year he was awarded the prestigious Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Humboldt Foundation of Germany.
Jerry Barach | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences