Meet the Adventurers of the Year: Wildlife Migrations Tracker Martin Wikelski
Each day we will feature one of the 2010 Adventures of the Year here on our blog, starting with behavioral ecologist Martin Wikelski. Get to know them all in our photo gallery, then vote for your favorite for the People's Choice award—every day. You can even vote for a new favorite each day, if you can't pick just one. Photograph by Christian Ziegler
Martin Wikelski is figuring out how animals move en masse so we can save them—and save us.
This year, behavioral ecologist Martin Wikelski followed cuckoos from Denmark to the Democratic Republic of the Congo; flew alongside ducks from Sweden and Germany; measured the heart rate of golden-collard manakins in Panama; took a motorcycle across the Alps to shadow songbirds; tracked mountain trangopans and blood pheasants in Bhutan; and—what may be most impressive—precisely measured a mass migration of bumblebees in Germany. He also tracked gulls from Russia to Tanzania, blackbirds from France to Spain, storks from Spain to the Sahel desert, and giant tortoises in the Galápagos. Wikelski is a man on the move. But then, so are his subjects. Wikelski tracks animal migrations, which were not—until recently—sufficiently studied or much understood. The impact of this research is astonishing. If we can begin to understand these mass movements, we can better predict weather patterns and natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. We can also become better stewards of our wild spaces, protecting corridors so that these animals on the move can stay that way. Wikelski explains.—Ryan Bradley
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- Nat Geo Expeditions