Wildlife Migration

Tracking wildlife migration and adaptation

Humans aren’t the only species affected by climate change. An estimated 3,000 animal species in the Western Hemisphere will be forced to seek out new habitats with more favorable climate conditions this century.

To better predict wildlife response to environmental change, Environmental Resilience Institute researchers are using birds as a model organism to better understand wildlife migration and adaptation in the Midwest and North America.

Forecasting infectious disease risks in Indiana and beyond: What role do migratory birds play?

Although wild birds play a key role in the natural transmission cycle of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, little is known about the conditions where birds act as hosts. ERI Fellow Alex Jahn and postdoctoral researcher Daniel Becker are studying the ability of birds to act as Lyme disease reservoirs to better predict disease distribution under future urbanization and climate change scenarios.

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Impact of Light Pollution on Wildlife

Though important for public safety, artificial light is an environmental pollutant that has been shown to have harmful consequences on native wildlife populations. ERI Fellow Adam Fudickar and his team are working to identify ways that artificial light negatively impacts native wildlife in Indiana and solutions for mitigating that impact.

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Isotopic Studies of Animal Migration

Predicting future wildlife response and resilience to environmental change requires baseline information on how species interact with their environment. ERI Fellow Tara Smiley and her collaborators are using naturally-occurring biochemical tracers, known as stable isotopes, to look at shifts in the timing and geography of bird migration as their habitats and resources are impacted by human activities and environmental change.

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Maintenance of Bird Biodiversity

By measuring population-level differences in key traits related to bird migration and the timing of reproduction, IU Distinguished Professor Ellen Ketterson and her team are looking at the ability of a bird species to adapt to environmental change.

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Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survival (MAPS)

Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) is an international collaborative effort to study breeding birds and the environmental factors influencing their success, including climate change. Led by IU Distinguished Professor Ellen Ketterson, the MAPS station at Kent Farm contributes valuable data to this worldwide initiative.

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Tracking Migration

IU Distinguished Professor Ellen Ketterson and her team are focused on developing technology for tracking movements of migratory organisms, such as birds. These animals provide essential ecological services and also pose risks by transporting pathogens across long distances.

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