Insects, birds and bats have amazing flight capabilities, and especially with respect to maneuverability natural flyers outperform any human-made flying device. This intrigued me so much as an aerospace engineer, that I specialized myself in the (bio)mechanics, aerodynamics and flight control of natural flyers (see Publications). For my PhD studies at Lund University, Sweden, I studied the aerodynamics of bird and bat flight (see here), and for my post-doctoral research at Dickinson Lab (University of Washington, Seattle, USA) I studied the aerodynamics and control of flight maneuvers in fruit flies (see movie).
Now, as associate professor I run my Animal Flight Lab at the Experimental Zoology Group of Wageningen University. Together with my excellent team of biologists, physicists and engineers we study the bio(fluid)mechanics of animal flight (see Publications). Here, we use mosquitoes, bumblebees and pied flycatchers as model organisms. These animals are not only highly-specialized flyers, the flycatcher is an excellent model organism for movement ecology research, and mosquitoes and bumblebees are of high societal relevance. Bumblebees are important pollinators in both nature and agriculture, whereas the mosquito is the most dangerous animal in the world. Therefore, our research consists of both primary and more applied research.
Examples of our primary research:
Examples of our applied work: