ICARUS' mission is to work towards establishing a remote sensing platform for scientists world-wide that track small organisms globally, enabling observations and experiments over large spatial scales.
The "ICARUS initiative" is the abbreviation of the "International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space". ICARUS was founded in 2002 by an international consortium of scientists who realized the global lack of knowledge on dispersal and migration of small animals (such as bats, insects, songbirds).
Many billion songbirds migrate every year between continents. Similarly, many bat species and countless large insects migrate long distances, potentially also between continents. Scientists are so far unable to follow individual small animal during their long-distance migrations. Knowledge about individual decisions is essential for an ecological and evolutionary understanding of dispersal and migration. Once we can follow small animals we will also be armed with knowledge against biological invasions and the spread of pandemic diseases that are carried by small animals.