About Us

Prof. Ran Nathan

The Movement Ecology lab was founded by Prof. Ran Nathan at 2002. The Lab studies foraging, dispersal, migration and other types of movements in plants and animals, mostly birds. These studies typically combine advanced biotelemetry of free-ranging animals, mechanistic models, molecular tools, and various observational and experimental approaches in the laboratory and in the field, both in Israel and around the world.

As a theoretical base the lab projects use a conceptual framework that was introduced by Nathan et al. in a special issue of PNAS (2008). This framework asserts that four basic components are needed to describe the mechanisms underlying movement of all kinds: the organism’s internal state, which defines its intrinsic motivation to move; the motion and navigation capacities representing, respectively, the organism’s basic ability to move and affect where and when to move; and the broad range of external factors affecting movement.

The Lab is expected to contribute significantly to a greater understanding of movement across all taxonomic groups based on the framework above by the study of issues regarding:

  1. the links between movement patterns and their underlying mechanisms (e.g., search efficiency and landscape heterogeneity);
  2. the fitness consequences of lifetime movement;
  3. the mechanisms of animal navigation;
  4. the drivers of inter-continental bird migration, and their implications for individuals and ecosystems, and
  5. Social behavior and decision-making

The Lab is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of students with diverse backgrounds and complementary expertise because we believe that diversity brings creativity, and creativity brings new insights.

Selected Publications

David Shohami, , Ran Nathan, (2014) Fire-induced population reduction and landscape opening increases gene flow via pollen dispersal in Pinus halepensis | Molecular Ecology 70-81
Nir Horvitz, , Nir Sapir, , Ran Nathan, Felix Leichti, , Roni Avissar, , Isaac Mahrer, (2014) The gliding speed of migrating birds: slow and safe or fast and risky? | Ecology Letters 670–679 : 17
Ran Nathan, O. Spiegel, S. Fortmann-Roe, R. Harel, M. Wikelski, W. M. Getz. , (2012) Using tri-axial acceleration data to identify behavioral modes of free-ranging animals: general concepts and tools illustrated for Griffon Vultures | Journal of Experimental Biology 986-996 : 215
Asaf Tsoar, , Ran Nathan, , Yoav Bartan, A. Vyssotski, G. Dell'Omo, N. Ulanovsky, (2011) Large-scale navigational map in a mammal | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America E718-E724 : 108
Ran Nathan, , Nir Horvitz, Y. He, A. Kuparinen, F. M. Schurr, G. G. Katul, (2011) Spread of North-American wind-dispersed trees in future environments | Ecology Letters 211-219 : 14


Contact Details Block

Contact Details


AddressDepartment of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Givat Ram, Jerusalem 91904, Israel

Map of Edmond J Safra campus at Givat Ram