Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research
Phone number
+31 (0)222 369 578
Tenure track Scientist
  • Animal Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution
  • Movement Ecology, Animal Personality, Spatial Ecology, Social Behaviour
  • Habitat Use, Optimal Foraging, Trophic Interactions, Social Information Use
  • Animal Tracking, Experimental Design
  • Wadden Sea
WATLAS - tracking regional movements

Dr. Allert Bijleveld

Tenure track Scientist

Research interests

I am a behavioural ecologist focussed on studying consistent individual differences (animal personality), social behaviour, and trophic interactions in coastal ecosystems. Particularly, I am interested in studying how different phenotypes interact with the environment to shape movement, spatial distributions and fitness. In my studies, I combine experiments, modelling, field observations, and the latest tracking technologies. I have mainly studied marine macrozoobenthos and birds, but I will expand my research to include fish.

If you are interested in a project or a collaboration with me, please feel free to send me an e-mail or contact me on Twitter @AllertBijleveld.



2017 - present: Tenure-track scientist at NIOZ

2016 - 2017: Visiting academic at the University of Oxford

2015 - 2017: Post-doctoral researcher at NIOZ

2007-2009: Project-researcher at NIOZ

2003-2007: Teaching assistent at the University of Amsterdam



Please find my list of publications at the bottom of this webpage or on GoogleScholar. You can download all my publications on ResearchGate.


Professional education

2009-2015: PhD - Untying the knot: Mechanistically understanding the interactions between social foragers and their prey. NIOZ / University of Groningen (cum laude)

2007: MSc Ecology & Evolution, University of Amsterdam with a specialization in Animal Ecology (cum laude)

2006: BSc General Biology, University of Amsterdam


Awards and Prizes

2015: Wadden Academy Prize for best PhD thesis in the academic years 2013/14 and 2014/15 (5 k€)


Research video's

Do Red Knots use each other to find their hidden food?
The video below shows an experiment that we designed to answer this question. In the Experimental Shorebird Facility we constructed two patches and burried food in only one. We then released two Red Knots on each patch. We also released a focal bird in a central cage that was located in between the two patches. This bird was then allowed to watch the two groups of foraging birds on both sides. After 2 minutes the central cage was opened and the focal bird was allowed to exit to either side. The results show that in 75% of the trials Red Knots chose that side of the experimental arena where the food was buried. This show that Red Knots can use social information to be more efficient in finding their hidden food. You can find the scientific publication here.

Red knot foraging experiment
Here is a movie that shows the experimental setup for a foraging experiment on Red Knots (Calidris canutus islandica). The experiment was designed to study patch departure decisions for red knots foraging in a patchy food environment. Foragers should not stay in a patch too long and waste time searching for that last prey item while other food patches have more to offer. On the other hand, foragers should not depart a patch too soon and leave many prey items behind. Depending on the density and distribution of food, one can calculate the optimal departure decision that foragers should use that maximises intake rate. We want to find out how and if red knots make optimal foraging decisions.

The movie below shows two golden plovers that we tracked with our novel 'time-of-arrival' methodology. This movie is part of our publication in LIMOSA.

Linked news

Wednesday 12 February 2020
'Natuurwijzer' van Radio Texel gaat vernieuwd van start met Allert Bijleveld
Op zondag 16 februari vertelt NIOZ-onderzoeker Allert Bijleveld over zijn werk aan kanoeten op Radio Texel bij het programma Natuurwijzer. Interviewer is Mathijs Deen, bekend van de landelijke radio. Het team van Natuurwijzer is vernieuwd. Voortaan…
Wednesday 22 January 2020
Public lectures by NIOZ scientists at Ecomare
In February and March, 7 NIOZ scientists will give 4 public lectures at Ecomare. The lectures are a run-up to the new exhibition Wonderlijk Wad that will be opened at the beginning of May at Ecomare. The main language is Dutch, tickets cost € 5,-,…
Tuesday 16 July 2019
Veni-financiering voor onderzoek aan sociale netwerken bij wadvogels
[scroll down for English version] De Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) heeft aan ‘veelbelovende NIOZ-onderzoeker dr. Allert Bijleveld’ van de afdeling Kustsystemen een Veni-financiering van 250.000 euro toegekend. Hiermee…
Monday 01 July 2019
Waddenfonds steunt Swimway Waddenzee
Het project "Waddentools – Swimway Waddenzee" kan dankzij een bijdrage vanuit het Waddenfonds van start gaan. Dat werd vrijdag 28 juni door het Waddenfonds bekend gemaakt. Doel van het project is om erachter te komen met welke beheermaatregelen de…
Friday 28 September 2018
Drieteenstrandlopers vliegen grote afstanden tijdens hun tussenstop in de Waddenzee
Drieteenstrandlopers van slechts 50 gram vliegen bij iedere getijdewisseling grote afstanden in de Waddenzee. Dat blijkt uit de eerste resultaten van het monitoringsexperiment bij Griend. Allert Bijleveld, gedragsecoloog bij het NIOZ is verrast door…
Wednesday 18 July 2018
Groot experiment op de Waddenzee bij Griend: Wat beweegt trekvogels?
De Waddenzee is een belangrijke plek voor veel vogels. Op de drooggevallen wadplaten eten ze bodemdieren zoals schelpen, wormen en garnalen, maar hoe en waar de vogels hun voedsel vinden, weten onderzoekers nog niet precies. De rijkheid aan voedsel…

Linked blogs

Monday 13 July 2020
WATLAS fieldwork 2020 | Tracking Shorebirds in the Wadden Sea
The Wadden Sea is an important and unique site for many shorebirds. By tracking shorebirds, we study how shorebirds move with the tide, on which intertidal mudflats they feed, and how long they stay in the Wadden Sea on their migratory journeys. This…
Monday 09 December 2019
WATLAS | What do Red knots eat in the Wadden Sea?
The fieldwork of summer 2019 is over and we are back to our warm offices with lots of data ready to process. In total, 256 red knots were colour ringed and tagged this season. Thanks to WATLAS, we knew where the tagged birds were, but we didn’t know…
Thursday 15 August 2019
WATLAS | Where do Red Knots go in the Wadden Sea?
Blog 1: Now it is August and along with the other migratory shorebirds Red knots arrived in the Wadden Sea after breeding in the Arctic. The Wadden Sea is an important area for Red knots to mold their feathers and feed on bivalves, like mussels and…

NIOZ publications

Linked projects

Conservation of the dynamic Island of Griend
Theunis Piersma
Vereniging Natuurmonumenten
Project duration
1 May 2014 - 1 Jul 2020
WATLAS - advanced tracking and localisation of shorebirds
Allert Bijleveld
Project duration
1 Jan 2018 - 31 Dec 2024
Learning to lead
Allert Bijleveld
Project duration
1 Dec 2016 - 30 Sep 2017
WATLAS - advanced tracking and localisation of shorebirds
Allert Bijleveld
Project duration
1 Jan 2018 - 31 Dec 2024