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Jennifer Gill – Space, time and bird migration: shifting systems in a changing world

Professor of Applied Ecology at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, UK

Migratory bird populations are undergoing rapid changes at present. Shifts in the timing of migration and breeding, and in range and abundance, are being reported in migratory systems across the globe. However, how and why these changes are happening remains unclear. Since the mid-1990s, we have been colour-ringing and tracking individual Icelandic black-tailed godwits on their migratory journeys across western Europe, with the help of a network of citizen scientists. Icelandic godwits have undergone remarkable increases in population and range size and advances in migratory timings in recent decades, and we have used our lifelong tracking of individuals to explore how and why these changes have occurred. These findings have revealed the role that climate change can play in driving change in migratory systems, and why these effects are often more commonly observed in short-distance than long-distance migrant species.

Dr Jennifer Gill is Professor of Applied Ecology at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, UK. Her research focusses on the ecology and conservation of migratory birds, with a particular focus on (and passion for) shorebirds. She currently serves as Chair of Board of the British Trust for Ornithology and has previously served as President of the British Ornithologists’ Union.

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