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Animal Movement Ecology

The main aim within this research theme is to improve the understanding of the mechanisms that shape animal movement strategies at the individual level and subsequent consequences for individuals, populations or ecosystems. Our work focuses mainly on birds in the wild, often with an emphasis on migratory species and flight behaviour. We use complementary techniques such as radar monitoring, global tracking of individuals, data-analytic and mechanistic modelling approaches.


The long-term goal is to understand how individuals adapt their movement strategies to environmental change (abiotic and biotic drivers), what the costs, benefits and constraints of different strategies are, and whether diversity is important for population persistence. In order to understand the complexity of such interactions we integrate knowledge from ecology, physiology, earth science and meteorology. We apply our research to resolve challenges related to human-wildlife interactions in which movement is a key factor (e.g. aviation safety, environmental impact of wind energy, human and domestic animal health, conservation).

Research Questions

Questions we are addressing in our research include:

  • How do intrinsic and external factors interact to shape movement patterns at different scales in space and time?
  • What are the consequences of individual movement strategies?
  • How can we apply our understanding of movement strategies to help resolve human-wildlife conflicts and develop scientifically informed policy?

To facilitate research and work at the forefront of movement ecology, development of novel methods for studying animal movement is part of the research agenda. We are developing bio-logging equipment as well as tools to monitor bird migration across Europe using radar and collaborate with partners with complementary expertise.

Research Projects

Some examples of the projects where we have a leading role include:

  • UvA Bird Tracking System
  • Offshore space use of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus), funded by Gemini windpark (2017 – 2021)
  • Bird Avoidance System, funded by the Ministry of Defence (2016 – 2019)
  • COST action ENRAM (European Network for the Radar Surveillance Animal Movement, 2013 - 2017)
  • Predicting muskrat movement and population development in support of the control organisation, funded by the Dutch water authorities
  • EcoEvoClim, ecological and evolutionary consequences of predator-prey mismatch due to environmental variations associated with climate change

Staff members

dr. J.Z. (Judy) Shamoun- Baranes

Movement ecology, aeroecology

prof. dr. ir. W. (Willem) Bouten

Movement ecology, eScience, inverse modelling

prof. dr. B.A. (Bart) Nolet

Faculty of Science

Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

dr. ir. E.E. (Emiel) van Loon

Statistical ecology, animal movement

Ms L. (Liesbeth) Verlinden MSc

Movement ecology, radar aeroecology

dr. L.E. (Laura) Gangoso de la Colina

Faculty of Science

Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Ms E.L. (Elspeth) Sage MSc

Faculty of Science

Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Ms J.M. (Morgan) Brown MSc

Faculty of Science

Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics