Advanced Facility for Avian Research

About AFAR

AFAR is a globally unique research facility for studying avian physiology and behaviour.  It contains the world’s only bird wind tunnel capable of simulating altitude conditions.  In addition, AFAR has a unique combination of experimental and analytical equipment which allows scientists to conduct research that could be done nowhere else.

Researchers from a variety of disciplines (including Biology, Neuroscience, and Engineering) make use of these facilities in conjunction with their field work.  One of the goals of AFAR is to facilitate new synergies by having PIs and trainees from diverse backgrounds working together.

AFAR opened in 2009, and since that time over 100 peer-reviewed publications have been generated.  Over a dozen PIs at Western and elsewhere have used the facilities and 20-30 graduate students, 10-20 undergrads, and 3-7 postdoctoral fellows use the facilities each year.

Funding for the AFAR was provided by CFI, the Province of Ontario, and matching funds from vendors and Western.  Funding was $9.2 million through a CFI New Initiatives Fund grand led by Dr. Scott MacDougall-Shackleton through the Faculty of Social Science.  Recently the team has been awarded a further $3.4 million through the CFI Leading Edge Fund (grant led by Dr. Chris Guglielmo through the Faculty of Science).  The new grant has furthered our research capacity at Western and also founded a large-scale telemetry array (MOTUS).