Earth observation through animals

Media:  Talk   

13 March 2018

Byens Lys

Martin Wikelski

Director of the Max-Planck Institute for ornithology and Professor at University of Konstanz, Germany. He is also visiting research scholar at Princeton University, research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and Explorer at the National Geographic Society. He is leading the Icarus initiative, aiming at measuring the "Pulse of the Living Planet" by installing an experimental small-object tracking system at the International Space Station Homepage

Mike Sheridan

Danish DJ and producer of electronic music. His album I Syv Sind won a Danish grammy for “Best Electronica Album”. Homepage
Image Credit: Rasmus B. S. Hansen

The first event of this fantastic season of Science & Cocktails begins with the man previously deemed by National Geographic as one of most adventurous scientists in the world and the sound of the award-winning electronic musician and producer Mike Sheridan.

How can we best protect wild animals. How can we investigate the 6th sense of animals? Do animal collectives provide emergent new information about the world? What can animal "Big Data" tell us about zoonotic diseases, food safety, global change or natural disasters? Can animals help us forecast the weather better?

Since ancient times humans realized that animals can detect natural phenomena that are out of reach for human observations. This has often been termed ´The 6thSense of Animals´. Until recently, research towards this topic has remained anecdotal because wild animals could not be observed continuously. Modern bio–logging technologies now enable the remote observation of wild animals anywhere on earth, any time and for the entire life of individuals. Miniaturized onboard sensors measure environmental parameters such as temperature, air pressure, humidity or physiological parameters like heart rate and body temperature. In this way, wild animals are perhaps the best intelligent sensor network that ever existed.

Furthermore, in recent years there was a breakthrough in our understanding of the sensing capabilities of animal collectives. Interacting groups of animals have emergent sensing abilities that cannot be predicted based on observations of individuals.

Via the international collaboration of animal ecologists we can now collect data on life processes on planet Earth. The electronic tags carried by animals allow them to communicate with us where they like to live, but also where they have problems and where they die. We are therefore able to, and have the responsibility, to protect animals as our friends and global watchdogs. Animal based information on zoonotic diseases, global and natural catastrophes will provide large benefit for humanity. Martin Wikelski predicts that the invaluable information gathered by our wild friends will also change the relationship between animals and humans.

Afterwards, new homemade chilled cocktail surprises while Mike Sheridan takes the stage. In his own words, this is his opinion of the evening’s concert: "I know what I want to do! I'm coming and playing something beautiful … “. That’s it.

Entrance to the event is free. Event held in English. No registration is necessary. Doors open at 19:00. CASH ONLY.

The talk:

Image Credit: Daniel Biber