Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Beate Zein

Research interests:

Marine biology
Movement ecology
Environmental change effects on animals
Conservation biology

Career history:

Beate Zein received a M.Sc. in Biology at the University of Bielefeld in 2013. She worked in a couple of research institutes and has about 2 years of experience working in different field studies in 8 different countries. In 2018, Beate started a PhD at the University of St Andrews, funded by The Leverhulme Trust.

Active research projects:

Modelling geomagnetic bird navigation
Migratory bird species travel up to thousands of kilometres to alternate between summer-breeding and wintering habitats. They follow similar patterns on their routes, but less is known about how they navigate during these long-distance flights. Different theories suggest compass or map navigation or a combination of both. Previous studies on bird movements relate to global and static geomagnetic data but it is still unclear to what extent birds use the Earth’s magnetic field at each moment in time and how big the impact of that information is on their behavioural response. In our study, we use high-resolution geomagnetic data to model the effect on the movement of various bird species. We use agent-based models to include rapid and small-scale changes in the movement and simulate the various proposed strategies. The results will be validated using existing tracking data from several migratory bird species of previous studies carried out by the MPI in Germany.

Recent publications:

Zein B, Woelfing B, Dähne M, Schaffeld T, Ludwig S, et al. (2019) Time and tide: Seasonal, diel and tidal rhythms in Wadden Sea Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). PLOS ONE 14(3): e0213348.
Zein B and Haugum, SV (2018) The northernmost sightings of Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Journal of Marine Animals and Their Ecology 10(1):5-8

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