Animal Flight Laboratory

PhD Nir Sapir

PhD Nir Sapir
Phone: 510-642-1555

Research Interest

My main research interests are in the fields of bird migration and flight biomechanics.

Previous work
I studied for my B.Sc. in Ben-Gurion University in Israel where I also did an M.Sc. on stopover ecology of passerines. I then moved to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel where I did my Ph.D. on the effects of weather on the migration of the European bee-eater. In this project I dealt with biotelemetry, behavioral ecology, environmental modeling, and avian physiology. Then I did a postdoc in Tel-Aviv University in Israel in the field of radar ornithology.

Selected publications:


Sapir, N., Horvitz, N., Wikelski, M., Mahrer, Y., Avissar, R. and Nathan, R. Migration by soaring or flapping: numerical atmospheric simulations reveal that turbulence kinetic energy dictates bee-eater flight mode. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B – Biological Sciences (In press).

Sapir, N., Wikelski, M., Avissar, R. and Nathan, R. Timing and flight mode of departure in migrating European bee-eaters in relation to multi-scale meteorological processes. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (In press).

Lerner, A., Sapir, N. (equal contribution of the first two authors), Meltser, N., Erlick, C., Shashar, N. and Broza, M. 2011. Habitat availability mediates chironomid density dependent oviposition. Oecologia (In press, available in the journal’s Online First section).

Sapir, N., Wikelski, M., McCue, M.D., Pinshow, B. and Nathan, R. Flight modes in migrating European bee-eaters: heart rate may indicate low metabolic rate during soaring and gliding. PLoS ONE 5(11): e13956. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013956

Bowlin, M. S., Bisson I-A., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Reichard, J. D., Sapir, N. et al. 2010. Grand challenges in migration biology. Integrative and Comparative Biology 50: 261-279.

Lerner, A., Meltser, N., Sapir, N., Erlick, C., Shashar, N. and Broza, M. 2008. Reflected polarization leads chironomids oviposition habitat selection. Journal of Experimental Biology 211:3536-3543.

Tsurim, I., Sapir, N., Belmaker, J., Shanni, I., Izhaki, I., Wojciechowski, M. S., Karasov, W. H. and Pinshow, B. 2008. Drinking water boosts food intake rate, body mass increase and fat accumulation in migratory blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla). Oecologia 156:21-30.

Nathan, R., Sapir, N., Trakhtenbrot, A., Katul, G.G., Bohrer, G., Otte, M., Avissar, R., Soons, M.B., Horn, H.S., Wikelski, M. and Levin, S.A. 2005. Long-distance biological transport processes through the air: can nature’s complexity be unfolded in-silico? Diversity and Distributions 11:131-137.

Sapir, N., Tsurim, I., Gal, B. and Abramsky, Z. 2004. The effect of water availability on fuel deposition of two staging Sylvia warblers. Journal of Avian Biology 35:25-32.

Sapir, N., Abramsky, Z., Shochat, E. and Izhaki, I. 2004. Scale dependent habitat selection for food and safety of autumn migrating frugivorous passerines Naturwissenschaften 91:544-547.

Sapir, N. 2003. Six new breeding bird species in Israel during 1995-2002. Israel Journal of Zoology 49:203-218.

Book Chapters

Sapir, N., Butler, P.J., Wikelski, M. and Hedesntröm, A. 2011. Energy Gain and Use During Animal Migration. In Fryxell, J.M., Milner-Gulland, E.J. and Sinclair, A.R.E. (eds.), Animal Migration – A Synthesis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Animal Flight Laboratory, March 2011