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Monitoring with and for raptors in Europe

Final Report Summary - EURAPTOR (Monitoring with and for raptors in Europe)

Euraptor had two objectives:
1) to further develop and establish an emerging European network for monitoring with and for raptors, and
2) to advance monitoring with and for the lanner falcon in Sicily, Italy.

Dr Movalli achieved notable success with objective 2, having secured her role as coordinator of a five-year, EUR 500 000 European Science Foundation (ESF) Research Networking Programme (RNP), funded by 15 bodies (mainly national Research Academies and Ministries).

The ERG built on progress under Dr Movalli's Intra-European Fellowship (IEF), Raptor Ecotox, the success of which was featured in the EC publication 'Marie Curie Inspiring Researchers Actions' (2010). A workshop organised by Dr Movalli at the Riserva dello Zingaro, Sicily in October 2006 (towards the end of the EIF), created a European network for monitoring with and for raptors, and provided the basis for her to win a contract to guest edit a special issue of the prestigious environmental journal Ambio on this topic.

Dr Movalli's initial focus under her ERG was in preparing this publication. With her co-guest editor, she raised circa EUR 20 000 (from contributing authors and the UN Secretariat for the Convention on Migratory Species), coordinated papers and peer review, co-authored the editorial and introduction papers, and authored a paper on her fieldwork. The special issue (Ambio 37) was published in September 2008.

The main focus of Dr Movalli's work throughout the ERG was on securing the long-term viability of the European network created under her IEF. In 2007, she co-authored a proposal to the ESF for a RNP on monitoring with and for raptors in Europe (Eurapmon). When this was rejected (despite largely excellent evaluations), she worked with the proposed chair and network members to strengthen it, co-authoring a re-submission in late 2008. The proposal was recommended for funding by ESF in mid-2009. Dr Movalli worked with the proposed chair (G. Duke) to coordinate fundraising, securing sufficient funds to enable ESF to formally launch Eurapmon in May 2010 (see: online). Dr Movalli worked with the chair to prepare a first steering committee meeting in May 2010 at which she was appointed coordinator.

During the final few months of her ERG, Dr Movalli co-organised, with the Eurapmon chair, the inaugural workshop of Eurapmon, securing significant co-funding from local sponsors. The workshop, once again held at the Riserva dello Zingaro, Sicily, attracted over 50 participants from 25 countries, and was most successful in its aim of developing scientific and technical considerations for the further elaboration of the RNP.

Regarding objective 1, Dr Movalli has worked with colleagues at the University of Palermo to obtain samples of lanner and also, for comparative purposes, of peregrine. The rarity of the lanner has meant that it takes considerable time to collect a statistically significant number of lanner samples. Lab analyses will be carried out once a statistically significant number of samples has been collected, under continuing collaboration between Dr Movalli and the University of Palermo.

The potential impact of Dr Movalli's work is substantial. Monitoring with and for raptors has potential to deliver biodiversity, environmental and human health benefits, including maintenance and recovery of raptor populations and their habitats, and reduced chemicals threats to ecosystem and human health. The creation and growth of a European network will help to realise this potential. Target groups for network outputs include environmental and human health policy makers, environmental law enforcement bodies, and conservation practitioners.

On the basis of her networking successes and her position as Eurapmon coordinator, Dr Movalli has secured a post as a senior researcher at the Institute of Environmental Studies (IVM), VU University Amsterdam. Her ERG fellowship has thus been instrumental in securing her long-term research employment.