National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Coordination Networks in Biological Sciences (RCN) National Science Foundation (NSF)
Animal Migration Interest Group: Research Applied Toward Education



Data Standards and Protocols
One objective of MIGRATE is to standardize data collection and storage among field sites and across technological applications as they apply to animal migration research.  The Data Standards and Protocols Committee is working to develop a set of best practices that will be subject to peer review.  These standards and protocols can then be applied to large scale and multi-investigator data sets.
Examples of data that would benefit from standardization include:

  1. field measurements collected at migration banding stations,
  2. tissue samples collected from migrants,
  3. methods and outcomes of affixing extrinsic markers (e.g., radios, tags), and
  4. standardization of electronic and physical formats for storage of data and media. 
Committee Memebers:
D. Robinson - Chair , C. Belser, G. Bowen, J. Buler, S. Gauthreaux, K. Hobson, D. Irwin, J.Shamoun-Baranes, T. Smith, F. Spina, L. Wassenaar


Migration Short Course for Graduate Students – Theory, methods and technology associated with the study of animal migration are often dispersed or not available in the typical graduate curriculum.  To ensure that graduate students and advanced undergraduates have access to a condensed and efficient training program in migratory biology, MIGRATE is planning to offer a short course that involves work in the field, laboratory, and classroom.  The hope is that the content of this course can be standardized so that it can be taught in many locations throughout the Americas.
Committee Members:
S. Haig and R. Norris -Co-chairs, T. Cels, J. Deppe, Chris Guglielmo, J. Kelly, T. Kunz, S. Mabey, K. Paxton, J. Smith, D. Winkler

Citizen Science and Outreach
Putting Migration on the Public’s Radar
  - Enormous amounts of data are collected on migrants every year in the form of radar  imagery.  Yet most of this information goes unused or is filtered out as noise.  The MIGRATE Citizen Science Committee plans to work on using these images to educate the public through incorporation of educational segments into local and national weather broadcasts.
Committee Members:
J. Parrite - Chair, S. Bearhop, I. Bissons, R. Diehl, E. Kirsch

Training Opportunities and Exchange Visits
– Often the transfer of technological knowledge among labs is a limiting factor in migration research.  MIGRATE seeks to catalyze rapid exchange of information and technology by supporting training sessions and laboratory exchange visits for scientists and graduate students.  These training sessions are awarded on a competitive basis for projects that the training subcommittee deems to represent the best opportunities to create rapid advances in our understanding of New World animal migration.  This program is being used to support integration with RCN: BASIN in 2008 .
Committee Memebers:
C. Taylor, M. Bowen, A. Mata K. Thorup, S. Skagen, F. Moore

Model Species for Migration Research –
Many fields of science have made rapid progress by focusing the research community on one or a few taxa of organisms.  This model-species-approach represents a tradeoff for scientists that are already invested in study systems and species.  For this reason, reaching consensus on a model species approach is contentious.  MIGRATE is working toward building this consensus by evaluating the life history and logistical traits of many commonly studied migrant birds.