Nir Sapir Ph.D.


Nir Sapir 100  
Senior Lecturer, Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology
Office: Beit Sala, Room 108 | Phone: 972-4-6647966
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Subject: Animal flight
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Research Interests 

We study biomechanical, behavioral, physiological, evolutionary and ecological aspects of flight in birds, bats and insects. Our projects include the study of wild animals in the field and in the lab using a diversity of research approaches. We are interested in the movement ecology of flying organisms, in particular during migration, but also during other life stages including migratory stopover and central-place foraging. In our projects we track the movement of flying organisms using GPS and radio telemetry, multi-sensor geolocators and radars. Additional projects apply controlled laboratory experiments on nutrition and lipid managements of migratory passerines, high-speed photography to study flight kinematics in various species, as well as life-history studies related to bird feather moult and migration patterns.

 Specific research interests: 

  • Stopover fuel deposition, movement and departure for cross-country flight in migrating songbirds (with Daniela Zinssmeister) – This study combines food supplementation experiments, meteorological measurements, behavioral observations, and repeated recording of bird body mass by field-deployed measuring scales to examine predictions regarding habitat selection, fuel deposition and movement of passerines during migratory stopover and departure for migration.
  • Behavioral ecology of soaring migrants crossing the Mediterranean basin under variable environmental conditions (With Paolo Becciu) – This study uses different types of data (from radars, GPS devices, accelerometers and visual observations) from different regions in the Mediterranean basin (Israel, Italy, Turkey and Spain) in order to examine how soaring birds respond to weather conditions and geographic features along their long-distance migratory routes.
  • The effects of meteorological conditions and habitat attributes on nocturnal bird migration (with Inbal Shekler) – The goal of this study is to integrate information on bird migration and key influencing factors to explain and predict the abundance, 3D distribution and dynamics of nocturnal migration in the Eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea basin.

Selected Publications

Becciu, P., Panuccio, M., Catoni, C., Dell’Omo, G. and N., Sapir. 2018. Contrasting aspects of tailwinds and asymmetrical response to crosswinds in soaring migrants. – Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 72: 28. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-018-2447-0

Tucker, M.A., Böhning-Gaese, K., Fagan, W.F., Fryxell, J.M., Van Moorter, B., Alberts, S.C., Ali, A.H., Allen, A.M., Attias, N., Avgar, T., Bartlam-Brooks, H., Bayarbaatar, B., Belant, J.L., Bertassoni, A., Beyer, D., Bidner, L., van Beest, F.M., Blake, S., Blaum, N., Bracis, C., Brown ,D., de Bruyn, P.J.N., Cagnacci, F., Calabrese, J.M., Camilo-Alves, C., Chamaillé-Jammes, S., Chiaradia, A., Davidson, S.C., Dennis, T., De Stefano, S., Diefenbach, D., Douglas-Hamilton, I., Fennessy, J., Fichtel, C., Fiedler, W., Fischer, C., Fischhoff, I., Fleming, C.H., Ford, A.T., Fritz, S.A., Gehr, B., Goheen, J.R., Gurarie, E., Hebblewhite, M., Heurich, M., Hewison, A.J.M, Hof, C., Hurme, E., Isbell, L.A., Janssen, R., Jeltsch, F., Kaczensky, P., Kane, A., Kappeler, P.M., Kauffman, M., Kays, R., Kimuyu, D., Koch, F., Kranstauber, B., LaPoint, S., Leimgruber, P., Linnell, J.D.C., López-López, P., Markham, A.C., Mattisson, J., Medici, E.P., Mellone, U., Merrill, E., de Miranda Mourão, G., Morato, R.G., Morellet, N., Morrison, T.A., Díaz-Muñoz, S.L., Mysterud, A., Nandintsetseg, D., Nathan, R., Niamir, A., Odden, J., O’Hara, R.B., Oliveira-Santos, L.G.R., Olson, K.A., Patterson, B.D., de Paula, R.C., Pedrotti, L., Reineking, B.,Rimmler, M., Rogers, T.L., Rolandsen, C.M., Rosenberry, C.S., Rubenstein, D.I., Safi, K., Saïd, S., Sapir, N.. Sawyer, H., Schmidt, N.M., Selva, N., Sergiel, A., Shiilegdamba, E., Silva, J.P., Singh, N., Solberg, E.J., Spiegel, O., Strand, O., Sundaresan, S., Ullmann, W., Voigt, U., Wall, J., Wattles, D., Wikelski, M., Wilmers, C.C., Wilson, J.W., Wittemyer, G., Zięba, F., Zwijacz-Kozica, T., and T.

Achache, Y. Sapir, N. and Elimelech, Y. 2018. Hovering hummingbird wing aerodynamics during the annual cycle: II. Implications of wing feather molt. Royal Society Open Science (In Press).

Agostini, N., Panuccio, M., Pastorino, A., Sapir, N. and G. Dell’Omo. 2017.Migration of the Western Marsh Harrier to the African wintering quarters along the Central Mediterranean flyway: a 5‑year study. Avian Research 8: 24. https://doi.org/10.1186/s**************** 

Achache, Y., Sapir, N., and Y. Elimelech. 2017. Hovering hummingbird wingaerodynamics during the annual cycle. I.Complete wing. Royal Society Open Science 4: 170183. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.170183

Bauer, S., J.W. Chapman, D.R. Reynolds, J.A. Alves, A.M. Dokter, M.M.H. Menz, N. Sapir, M. Ciach, L.B. Petterson, J.F. Kelly, H. Leijnse, and J. Shamoun-Baranes. 2017. From Agricultural Benefits to Aviation Safety: Realizing the Potential of Continent-Wide Radar Networks. Bioscience bix074. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/bix074 

Rotics, S., S. Turjeman, M. Kaatz, Y.S. Resheff, D. Zurell, N. Sapir, U. Eggers, W. Fiedler, A. Flack, F. Jeltsch, M. Wikelski, and R. Nathan. 2017. Wintering in Europe instead of Africa enhances juvenile survival in a long-distance migrant. Animal Behaviour 126: 79-88. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.01.016

Kiat, Y. and N. Sapir. 2017. Age-dependent modulation of songbird summer feather moult by temporal and functional constraints. The American Naturalist 189 (2):184-195. doi: https://doi.org/10.1086/690031

Hu, G., K.S. Lim, N. Horvitz, S.J. Clark, D.R. Reynolds, N. Sapir, and J.W. Chapman. 2016. Mass seasonal bioflows of high-flying insect migrants. Science 354 (6319): 1584-1587. doi: 10.1126/science.aah4379

Kiat, Y., I. Izhaki, and N. Sapir. 2016. Determinants of wing-feather moult speed in songbirds. Evolutionary Ecology 30 (4): 738-795. doi: 10.1007/s10682-016-9838-3. 



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