Starting in 2011, the Batumi Raptor Count offers the possibility to carry out a research project for a Master's thesis. In the first year we offer one project, details of which are below. Applicants should have a supervisor from their own university. A second supervisor will be provided by the BRC. Funding for field expenses, accommodation and transport will be arranged by the BRC.
Interested applicants should send a letter of motivation to brechtverhelst at gmail.com
The impact of local vs regional weather conditions on the intensity and composition of raptor migration through the Batumi bottleneck
The migration strategies of many species of raptors rely heavily on the occurrence of favorable meteorological conditions. Therefore, local and regional weather patterns are thought to have a deep impact on the intensity and composition of raptor migration recorded at Batumi. Because of differences in wing shape, flight behavior and timing of migration, meteorological factors are expected to affect species differentially. However, our understanding of the exact spatio-temporal mechanisms involved is still very limited. Moreover, the relative importance of local (i.e. inside the bottleneck) and regional (i.e. over the whole Western Caucasus region) factors are poorly understood. An increased understanding of the effects of climatic conditions on the variability of migration counts will contribute to the optimization of the Batumi monitoring program.
Through a comparison of local and regional weather data with count results from the Batumi Raptor Count, we will identify the climatic factors which have a significant impact on raptor migration. Local weather data will be obtained from a weather station, regional data will be derived from satellite images. The analyses will be conducted separately for several classes of raptors with different migration strategies.
Students with a background in meteorology are especially encouraged to apply for this project. BRC-supervisor will be: Brecht Verhelst (firstname.lastname@example.org), DPhil student at Oxford University, Department of Zoology.
Deadline: November 15th.