I am professor of animal movement ecology and head of the interdisciplinary department Theoretical and Computational Ecology, at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics.
The overarching aim of my research is to understand how intrinsic and external factors influence animal movement at different scales in space and time and what the consequences of movement strategies are for individuals, populations and species. Currently, my research focuses on birds with a strong emphasis on flight behaviour. I try to combine measurements and models to study immediate responses of birds to their environment, resulting movement patterns, and longer term consequences of different behavioural strategies. Fundamental knowledge about avian movement is also used to better understand human wildlife interactions and develop solutions when conflicts arise. Radar measurements and GPS tracking using the UvA Bird Tracking System are often used in my research. Improving research infrastructure for ecologists studying animal movement, by assisting in the development of databases, analytical toolboxes and web services, in short e-ecology is an important part of my collaborative work.
I am involved in the BSc programs of Biology and Future Planet Studies as well as the MSc programs Biological Sciences and Earth Sciences. My contributions are usually related to biodiversity or working with biological data, through course coordination, guest lectures, development of course materials and excursions. Furthermore I supervise students working on their BSc and MSc thesis projects.
Every two years, I coordinate an international summer course on Animal Movement Analysis for graduate students, together with my colleagues from TCE. Our last course was held in July 2019. For more information or registration please visit the course website.
I find public outreach an important part of my work and great fun. I believe that through public outreach activities, you can engage people in your research, inspire new ideas and ways of thinking and get inspired by the people you interact with. I have given numerous public lectures to people of all ages and these events have been, without exception, stimulating and great fun. I'd like to thank all those that have invited me, come to listen and ask great questions.
In 2013 our team Vogel het Uit! won the annual national science communication competition funded by NWO (Academische jaarprijs). This was a truely fantastic experience and with the prize we turned our ideas into a reality setting up a new citizen science project to complementn our tracking research. For more information about this project see: www.vogelhetuit.nl or even better download our app (Vogelhetuit) for Android and IOS and contribute to our work (project is in Dutch). Unfortunately 2013 was the last year that NWO funded this competition, which is a pity because it created an opportunity for scientists to think out of their research box and find new and creative ways to engage people in what they do daily with such great passion.
Selection of media coverage of Vogel het Uit!
Radio interview (Dutch): http://vroegevogels.vara.nl/Fragment.150.0.html?&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=368712&cHash=f1d2b76ecc0b560b06c65f238d9ba9c2
Interview Kijk magazine (Dutch): http://www.kijkmagazine.nl/artikel/hoe-meeuwen-hun-dag-besteden-weet-niemand/
Apps of the week Volkskrant (Dutch): http://www.volkskrant.nl/media/de-drie-apps-van-de-week-vogel-het-uit-swarm-en-snugger~a3656898/
Below are links to a few of the other outreach activities I have been involved in:
I find that one of the great benefits of research is working with different people, and when doing interdisciplinary research, this means people with diverse backgrounds, expertise and even research cultures. While this can be challenging at times it is also an enriching experience.
I collaborate with several people on a regular basis; those I work most closely with are Willem Bouten and Emiel van Loon from TCE on migration, foraging ecology and methodology, as well as with the PhD candidates I am supervising. On radar ornithology I work with Adriaan Dokter, currently based at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Hidde Leijnse from KNMI, Hans van Gasteren from the Royal Netherlands Air Force and numerous colleagues from ENRAM. Since 2008, I work closely with Kees Camphuysen from the NIOZ on the foraging and migration ecology of lesser black backed gulls ( Larus fuscus) and herring gulls (Larus argentatus).
From October 2013 - 2017 I served as the vice-chair of the e-COST action (ES-1305) ENRAM, connecting a mutli-disciplinary group of researchers that are using or developing ground based radar to monitor weather or animal movements in Europe. One of the aims of our network are to bring our expertise together to monitor, understand and predict animal movement patterns on a continental scale, while improving meteorological products from weather radar. It has been an honour and a pleasure to see this network grow and thrive during the years, and especially to see a young and virbrant new generation become an active part of this network.
For more information see the ENRAM website: http://www.enram.eu
Working together and supervising the next generation of motivated scientists is a real privelage. I am currently promoter of PhD candidates Morgan Brown, Elspeth Sage,Maja Bradariç and Liesbeth Verlinden and co-promoter of Susanne van Donk (NIOZ), I am also co-supervising PhD candidate Anouk Spelt (University of Bristol). Whether the focus is on migration, fine scale flight behaviour, the migratory behaviour of song birds, gulls or large soaring raptors, one thing that brings past (see below) and present PhD candidates together is their work on avian movement ecology.
I am always on the lookout for enthusiastic and highly motivated MSc students, interested in doing research on bird migration, foraging ecology or flight strategies and not afraid of working with a lot of real data or simulation models. If you are interested, contact me for an appointment.