../Morning Post
Posted October 2, 2009
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Innovation

World-First Bird Wind Tunnel Lifts Off: Official Opening of the Advanced Facility for Avian Research

London - Western celebrated the official opening of the Advanced Facility for Avian Research (AFAR), which includes the world’s first hypobaric bird wind tunnel to allow researchers to study avian flight under simulated altitude conditions by controlling pressure, temperature, and humidity.

The research studies the understanding how birds adapt their reproductive and migratory strategies to environmental pressures. This requires detailed knowledge of how their neural and physiological systems respond to changes in the environment.

Birds and humans affect each other in both positive and negative ways. Habitat disturbance, climate change and other stressors impose challenges to bird reproduction and migration, and birds’ high mobility makes them important vectors for disease and parasites. Studies of birds have led to fundamental discoveries with long-term benefits in biomedicine and agriculture. Birds are among the best model systems to study the neurobiology of vocal learning and adult neurogenesis. Conservation and population biology depend critically on birds as biomarkers and birds' global movements have important implications for human and ecosystem health.

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