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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
  • Eemshaven Showcase: collaborative study of bird collision mortality in wind farms to promote sustainable energy transition
  • FlySafe Bird Avoidance Model providing near real-time information and forecasts on large scale bird mobility for the Belgian Air Force and the Royal Netherlands Air Force
  • 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

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

Associate Professor

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

Professor of Computational Geo-Ecology

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

Special Chair of Waterfowl Movement Ecology

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

Assistant Professor

S. (Stacy) Shinneman MSc

Research Asssistant