Cutting-edge research relating to the above led National Geographic’s producer, David Hamlin, to ask (in 2007) Swansea about concepts for a proposed new series involving animal migrations with the specific request for Swansea to lead and advise the series. This resulted in RPW becoming chief scientific consultant (see http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/502-national-geographic-great-migrations-premiere.html) and featuring extensively in the ‘science of great migrations’ and Swansea’s team conducting work to inform the program. In addition to the normal consultation procedures, National Geographic awarded two grants ($50,000 and $20,000) to Swansea to facilitate their research to inform the proposed series.
National Geographic is very keen that their programs are science-driven and insist that they be scientifically robust, hence the drive to base their programs on the latest research and, where appropriate, the latest research techniques. The unique ability to resolve animal movements with sub-second resolution (via dead-reckoning) as well as determine the energetic costs of locomotion in wild animals (both methodological advances conceived by RPW) was pivotal in the way National Geographic set-out their concept for ‘Great Migrations’ because the paths and energies used by animals are critical in the success of animal movement strategies.