Dragonflies – Wired

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ambience river ecosystem (Basherkill)

A number of species of dragonflies migrate south each winter, just like birds, but where they go is unknown. This month, scientists have launched a project that could solve the mystery. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

“We’re just beginning a program in which we’re actually going to try to tack individual dragonflies during migration.”

Mike May is an entomologist at Rutgers University.

“This was initiated by a colleague of mine at Princeton University, Martin Wikelski, who developed little radio transmitters that are actually small enough to fit onto an insect. The plan is to be able to take one of these tiny transmitters that weigh less than half a gram. They consist of a radio transmitter with a tiny battery attached for power. This can be glued to the underside of the central body section of a dragonfly. The dragonflies are actually able to carry this around and fly with it. According to Martin, who is also a pilot, he is able to track the signals from these radio transmitters a distance of up to 60 to 80 miles. What we hope is that the dragonflies will – after we’ve caught them and attached the transmitter – resume their migration. He will be able to follow the path that they take and we’ll be able to actually tie down where it is – at least what directions they’re going in and hopefully where they finally go during migration, which has been impossible to know with absolute certainty up to this point.”

In future programs, we’ll report on whether the dragonflies have revealed any of the secrets of their migration to Mike May and his colleagues. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.
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Dragonflies - Wired

Tiny transmitters may help unlock the mysteries of dragonfly migration.
Air Date:09/08/2011
Scientist:
Transcript:

music
ambience river ecosystem (Basherkill)

A number of species of dragonflies migrate south each winter, just like birds, but where they go is unknown. This month, scientists have launched a project that could solve the mystery. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

"We're just beginning a program in which we're actually going to try to tack individual dragonflies during migration."

Mike May is an entomologist at Rutgers University.

"This was initiated by a colleague of mine at Princeton University, Martin Wikelski, who developed little radio transmitters that are actually small enough to fit onto an insect. The plan is to be able to take one of these tiny transmitters that weigh less than half a gram. They consist of a radio transmitter with a tiny battery attached for power. This can be glued to the underside of the central body section of a dragonfly. The dragonflies are actually able to carry this around and fly with it. According to Martin, who is also a pilot, he is able to track the signals from these radio transmitters a distance of up to 60 to 80 miles. What we hope is that the dragonflies will - after we've caught them and attached the transmitter - resume their migration. He will be able to follow the path that they take and we'll be able to actually tie down where it is - at least what directions they're going in and hopefully where they finally go during migration, which has been impossible to know with absolute certainty up to this point."

In future programs, we'll report on whether the dragonflies have revealed any of the secrets of their migration to Mike May and his colleagues. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.
music