Allert Bijleveld




Movement Ecology • Animal Behaviour • Optimal Foraging • Group Living • Social Information Use • Animal Personality • Spatial Ecology • Animal Tracking • Experimental Design • Ecology • Evolution


Research Interests

My research focusses on the evolution of consistent individual differences (personalities) in relation to environmental variation, and how these differences affect social behaviour, movement, spatial distributions and population dynamics. In my studies I combine field observations, controlled experiments, as well as modelling techniques using a movement ecology approach. I have mainly studied these phenomena in birds, but will expand to studying invertebrates and fish as well. 




University of Oxford (visiting academic)


Tenure track scientist - Movement Ecology


Postdoc at NIOZ (project Metawad)


PhD [cum laude] - Untying the knot: Mechanistically understanding the interactions between social foragers and their prey. NIOZ / University of Groningen


Researcher at NIOZ: designing an optimal sampling design (SIBES)


MSc Ecology & Evolution, University of Amsterdam [cum laude]
Specialization Animal Ecology, University of Groningen


Teaching assistant in statistics courses at University of Amsterdam


BSc General Biology, University of Amsterdam


Student projects and collaborations

If you are interested in a project or a collaboration with me, please feel free to send me an e-mail



See my Google Scholar profile here and you can download my publications via Researchgate here.


Research videos

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.



Novel animal tracking methods

The movie below shows two golden plovers that we tracked with our noven 'time-of-arrival' methodology. This movie is part of our publication in LIMOSA (link to pdf)




Phone number
+31 (0)222 369 382

Linked projects

METAWAD: connecting habitat use and survival in migratory shorebirds
Theunis Piersma
Project duration
Jan 1, 2011 - Jun 30, 2016

Linked publications

  • 2016
    Bijleveld, A.I.; Folmer, E. (2016). Wat verklaart de grootschalige ecologische ontwikkelingen in de Waddenzee? : Implicaties voor monitoring, onderzoek en beleid, in: Visies op de Wadden : Zes essays ten behoeve van de Beleidsverkenning ToekomstigeRol en Ambitie van het Rijk voor het Waddengebied.
    Bijleveld, A.I.; MacCurdy, R.B.; Chan, Y.-C; Penning, E.; Gabrielson, R.M.; Cluderay, J.; Spaulding, E.L.; Dekinga, A.; Holthuijsen, S.; Ten Horn, J.; Brugge, M.; van Gils, J.A.; Winkler, D.W.; Piersma, T. (2016). Understanding spatial distributions: negative density-dependence in prey causes predators to trade-off prey quantity with quality. Proc. - Royal Soc., Biol. Sci. 283: 1828.
    Oudman, T.; Bijleveld, A.I.; Kavelaars, M.M.; Dekinga, A.; Cluderay, J.; Piersma, T,; van Gils, J.A. (2016). Diet preferences as the cause of individual differences rather than the consequence. J. Anim. Ecol. 85(5): 1378–1388.
  • 2015
    Bijleveld, A.I. (2015). Untying the knot: mechanistically understanding the interactions between social foragers and their prey. PhD Thesis. NIOZ: Texel. ISBN 978-90-367-7866-4. 259 pp.
    Bijleveld, A.I.; Twietmeyer, S.; Piechocki, J.; van Gils, J.A.; Piersma, T. (2015). Natural selection by pulsed predation: survival of the thickest. Ecology 96(7): 1943-1956.
    Bijleveld, A.I.; van Gils, J.A.; Jouta, J.; Piersma, T. (2015). Benefits of foraging in small groups: An experimental study on public information use in red knots Calidris canutus. Behav. Process. 117: 74-81.
  • 2014
    Bijleveld, A.I.; Massourakis, G.; van der Marel, A.; Dekinga, A.; Spaans, B.; van Gils, J.A.; Piersma, T. (2014). Personality drives physiological adjustments and is not related to survival. Proc. - Royal Soc., Biol. Sci. 281: 20133135.
    Piersma, T.; MacCurdy, R.B.; Gabrielson,, R.M.; Dekinga, A.; Cluderay, J.; Spaulding, E.L.; Oudman, T.; van Gils, J.; Winkler, D.; Bijleveld, A. (2014). Fijnmazige positiebepaling van individuen in groepen : de principes en drie toepassingen van TOA-tracking. Limosa (Amst.) 87: 156-176
  • 2012
    Bijleveld, A.I.; Folmer, E.O.; Piersma, T. (2012). Experimental evidence for cryptic interference among socially foraging shorebirds. Behav. Ecol. 23(4): 806-814.
    Bijleveld, A.I.; van Gils, J.A.; van der Meer, J.; Dekinga, A.; Kraan, C.; van der Veer, H.W.; Piersma, T. (2012). Designing a benthic monitoring programme with multiple conflicting objectives. Methods Ecol. Evol. 3(3): 526-536.