I am a behavioural ecologist with a passion for birds and marine ecosystems. I’m fascinated with understanding why individuals behave the way they do. Known causes of intraspecific variation in behaviour include previous exposure to varying environmental factors and differences in internal state (both the physiologically and psychological state). Understanding an individual’s motivation to act may play a key role in predicting a species response to change.
My research primarily focusses on unraveling causes and consequences of consistent among-individual variation in migratory behaviour in Red Knots (Calidris canutus). Red knots are shorebirds that annually migrate between their arctic breeding grounds and their southern intertidal wintering areas. A major axis of my research is focused on understanding intraspecific variation of their migratory routines. I am especially interested in the role of experience (= a developmental cognitive process) in shaping individual variation in behaviour. Because, understanding the influence of experience in the shaping individual migratory routines may play a key role in predicting the species response to Global Change. To unravel underlying mechanisms leading to individual variation in behaviour I combine experimental work, field observation and satellite tracking of individuals.
Postdoc: ‘Phenological and behavioural responses to climate change in migratory shorebirds’
In my current postdoc project, I joined Jan van Gils and his team to investigate how global warming affects red knots from their Arctic breeding grounds to their tropical wintering areas and back.
All too briefly: Due to global warming, which is especially strong at higher latitudes, the Arctic summer has advanced by almost a month in the past decades. As a result, the emergence of insects (the main prey for red knot chicks) has also advanced and this seems to induce a so-called ‘tropic mismatch’, with red knot chicks growing up after the peak food supply. Read more about this VICI-funded project.
I recently received my PhD from the University of Groningen. The aim of my thesis ('Why Knot? Exploration of Variation in Long-Distance Migration) was to increase understanding of the development of individual migratory routines. To that extend I first explored individual variation in migratory behaviour present in wild red knots (Calidris canutus) using a novel solar-powered satellite transmitter. Second, I investigated how differences in experience effect the development of physiological and behavioural traits in birds temporarily held in captivity. By combining these results I show that environmental conditions play a key role in shaping individual migratory routines.
This work was done at NIOZ under supervision of Theunis Piersma and Kimberley Mathot. A pdf of my thesis can be downloaded here.
2020-current: Postdoctoral researcher at NIOZ
2014-2020: PhD student at NIOZ and University of Groningen (click here for more information).
Please find my complete list of NIOZ-publications at the bottom of this webpage. You can also find all my publications on Research Gate.
2016: Poster Price at the International Wader Study Group conference in Cork, Ireland
2020: Bioscoop film Silence of the Tides
2018: De Eilanden Het Wad, met Midas Dekkers
2018: Tracking Red Knots in the East Asian - Australasian Flyway in NW Australia