Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research
Phone number
+31 (0)222 36 9508
Location
Texel
Function
Postdoc
Expertise
  • Marine ecology, Animal ecology, Spatial ecology
  • Population dynamics
  • Biodiversity, Fisheries
  • Marine mammals
  • Statistics, Telemetry, Spatial statistics
The gray seal through the eyes of Geert Aarts (in Dutch).

Dr. Geert Aarts

Postdoc
Interests

Research interests

My research has focussed on three main themes: Marine mammals, fish & fisheries, and statistical ecology.

Over the years, I have studied several marine mammal species (e.g. harbour and grey seal, harbour porpoise and stellar sea lion). I have a strong interest in solving challenging statistical ecological problems and for example worked on spatial point process models, state-space models for animal movement, distance sampling, Bayesian population models, and statistical models for species distributions.

Currently my research focusses on understanding the spatial distribution of marine mammals. In the coming years, I hope to spend more time studying how the formation of colonies on land is shaped by the surrounding resource landscape. Although most organisms (including humans) have a natural tendency to aggregate because of group benefits, it often leads to increased food competition and local resource depletion. If resource availability declines, it may cause a sudden population collapse or even species extinction. The fact that animal aggregations or human settlements of different sizes occur within a landscape indeed suggests the existence of a balance between group benefits and spatially-varying resource availability. There is however an gap in understanding of how resource availability effects the size and distribution of such settlements. Hence, our ability to predict whether those aggregating species are able to cope with ongoing environmental changes is limited.

Functions

Functions

From 2018: Postdoc at NIOZ (0.5 FTE, NWO Arctic TopSector Water)

From 2018: Lecturer/assistant professor at Wageningen University (0.2 FTE)

From 2007: Researcher Wageningen Marine Research (0.3-1 FTE) 2011-2015: Postdoc at IMARES/Wageningen University (0.75 FTE, NWO-ZKO program effect of sound on marine mammals)

2009-2011: Postdoc at NIOZ (0.4 FTE). 2006-2007: Lecturer at Biometris, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Wageningen University

2003-2007: PhD at Sea Mammal Research Unit, St Andrews University, Scotland

2002-2003: Biometrician at Alterra, Texel.

Education

Professional education

2003-2007: PhD at Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), St Andrews University, Scotland

2001-2002: MSc animal ecology at Wageningen University, with thesis/traineeships at SMRU (Scotland), Alaska Department of Fish and Game (Alaska, USA) and NIOZ

1997-2001: BSc Biology at Wageningen University with a specialization in ecology, and BSc Marine biology program at State University Groningen.

Publications

Key-Publications

Aarts, G., Brasseur, S., Poos, J.J., Schop, J., Kirkwood, R., van Kooten, T., Mul, E., Reijnders, P., Rijnsdorp, A.D., Tulp, I. (2019). Top‐down pressure on a coastal ecosystem by harbor seals. Ecosphere 10(1): e02538. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2538

Aarts, G., Fieberg, J., Matthiopoulos, J. (2012) Comparative interpretation of count, presence-absence and point methods for species distribution models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 3: 177–187.

Aarts, G., MacKenzie, M., McConnell, B., Fedak, M., Matthiopoulos, J. (2008) Estimating space-use and habitat preference from wildlife telemetry data. Ecography 31: 140–160.

Aarts, G., Fieberg, J., Brasseur, S.M.J.M., Matthiopoulos, J. (2013) Quantifying the effect of habitat availability on species distributions. Journal of Animal Ecology , 82: 1135–1145.

Warton, D., Aarts, G. (2013) Advancing our thinking in presence-only and used-available analysis. Journal of Animal Ecology 82: 1125–1134.

Please find my list of publications at the bottom of this webpage or on Google Scholar

You can download all my publications on ResearchGate

Awards

Awards and Prizes

2018: NWO Arctic TopSector Water

 

Other

Linked news

Monday 04 April 2022
Arctic seals photographed from space
Around this time of year, the Arctic would normally be slowly awaking from its deep winter slumber. This year however, the annual ice melt started sooner than usual. Record breaking heat waves in both Polar regions – reaching up to 40C above normal…
Wednesday 01 December 2021
AI helps speed up ecological surveys
Scientists at NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research), EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne) and Wageningen University & Research have developed a new deep-learning model for counting the number of seals in aerial photos…
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,-,…
Monday 21 October 2019
Zandspiering; onbekend maakt onbemind
Eind oktober stappen onderzoekers van NIOZ, Naturalis en Wageningen Marine Research aan boord van het onderzoeksschip de Pelagia. Wat ze gemeen hebben is een grote interesse in het leven in en op de bodem van de Noordzee; van mollusken als het…

Linked blogs

Wednesday 09 December 2020
NIOZ@SEA | North Sea Expedition 7-15 December 2020 'Sandeels & Seals'
Onderzoekers van het NIOZ en Wageningen Marine Research brengen aan boord van de RV Pelagia de bodemgemeenschappen ten noorden van de Waddeneilanden en de Noord-Hollandse kust in kaart.
Monday 21 October 2019
NIOZ@SEA | North Sea Expedition 22-29 October 2019 'Eels & Seals'
Deze week zijn onderzoekers van NIOZ, Naturalis en Wageningen Marine Research aan boord van het onderzoeksschip Pelagia. Wat ze gemeen hebben is een grote interesse in het leven in en op de bodem van de Noordzee; van mollusken als het…

NIOZ publications

  • 2022
    Iorio-Merlo, V.; Graham, I.M.; Hewitt, R.C.; Aarts, G.M; Pirotta, E.; Hastie, G.D.; Thompson, P.M. (2022). Prey encounters and spatial memory influence use of foraging patches in a marine central place forager. Proc. - Royal Soc., Biol. Sci. 289(1970): 20212261. https://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2021.2261
  • 2021
    Aarts, G.M; Mul, E.; Fieberg, J.; Brasseur, S.; van Gils, J.A.; Matthiopoulos, J.; Riotte-Lambert, L. (2021). Individual-level memory is sufficient to create spatial segregation among neighboring colonies of central-place foragers. American Naturalist 198(2): E37-E52. https://doi.org/10.1086/715014
    Chudzinska, M.; Nabe-Nielsen, J.; Smout, S.; Aarts, G.M; Brasseur, S.; Graham, I.; Thompson, P.; McConnell, B. (2021). AgentSeal: Agent-based model describing movement of marine central-place foragers. Ecol. Model. 440: 109397. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2020.109397
    Hintzen, N.T.; Aarts, G.M; Poos, J.J.; van der Reijden, K.J.; Rijnsdorp, A.D. (2021). Quantifying habitat preference of bottom trawling gear. ICES J. Mar. Sci./J. Cons. int. Explor. Mer 78(1): 172-184. https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsaa207
    Hoekendijk, J.P.A.; Kellenberger, B.; Aarts, G.M; Brasseur, S.; Poiesz, S.; Tuia, D. (2021). Counting using deep learning regression gives value to ecological surveys. NPG Scientific Reports 11: 23209. https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-02387-9
    Lameris, T.K.; Hoekendijk, J.; Aarts, G.; Aarts, A.; Allen, A.M.; Bienfait, L.; Bijleveld, A.I.; Bongers, M.F.; Brasseur, S.; Chan, Y.-C.; de Ferrante, F.; de Gelder, J.; Derksen, H.; Dijkgraaf, L.; Dijkhuis, L.R.; Dijkstra, S.; Elbertsen, G.; Ernsten, R.; Foxen, T.; Gaarenstroom, J.; Gelhausen, A.; van Gils, J.A.; Grosscurt, S.; Grundlehner, A.; Hertlein, M.L.; van Heumen, A.J.P.; Heurman, M.; Huffeldt, N.P.; Hutter, W.H.; Kamstra, Y.J.J.; Keij, F.; van Kempen, S.; Keurntjes, G.; Knap, H.; Loonstra, A.H.J.; Nolet, B.A.; Nuijten, R.J.M.; Mattijssen, D.; Oosterhoff, H.; Paarlberg, N.; Parekh, M.; Pattyn, J.; Polak, C.; Quist, Y.; Ras, S.; Reneerkens, J.; Ruth, S.; van der Schaar, E.; Schroen, G.; Spikman, F.; van Velzen, J.; Voorn, E.; Vos, J.; Wang, D.; Westdijk, W.; Wind, M.; Zhemchuzhnikov, M.K.; van Langevelde, F. (2021). Migratory vertebrates shift migration timing and distributions in a warming Arctic. Animal Migration 8(1): 110-131. https://dx.doi.org/10.1515/ami-2020-0112
    van Duren, L.A.; Zijl, F.; van Kessel, T.; van Zelst, V.T.M.; Vilmin, L.M.; van der Meer, J.; Aarts, G.M; van der Molen, J.; Soetaert, K.; Minns, A.W. (2021). Ecosystem effects of large upscaling of offshore wind on the North Sea - Synthesis report. Deltares: [s.l.]. 42 pp.
  • 2020
    Matthiopoulos, J.; Fieberg, J.; Aarts, G.M; Barraquand, F.; Kendall, B.E. (2020). Within reach? Habitat availability as a function of individual mobility and spatial structuring. American Naturalist 195(6): 1009-1026. https://dx.doi.org/10.1086/708519
    Matthiopoulos, J.; Fieberg, J.R.; Aarts, G.M (2020). Species-Habitat Associations: Spatial data, predictive models, and ecological insights. University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing: Minnesota. https://doi.org/10.24926/2020.081320
  • 2019
    Aarts, G.M; Brasseur, S.; Poos, J.J.; Schop, J.; Kirkwood, R.; van Kooten, T.; Mul, E.; Reijnders, P.; Rijnsdorp, A.D.; Tulp, I. (2019). Top‐down pressure on a coastal ecosystem by harbor seals. Ecosphere 10(1): e02538. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.2538
    Hintzen, N.T.; Aarts, G.M; Rijnsdorp, A.D. (2019). Persistence in the fine-scale distribution and spatial aggregation of fishing. ICES J. Mar. Sci./J. Cons. int. Explor. Mer 76(4): 1072-1082. https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsy144
  • 2013
    Poos, J.J.; Aarts, G.M; Vandemaele, S.; Willems, W.; Bolle, L.J.; van Helmond, A.T.M. (2013). Estimating spatial and temporal variability of juvenile North Sea plaice from opportunistic data. J. Sea Res. 75: 118-128. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2012.05.014
  • 2012
    Aarts, G.M; Fieberg, J.; Matthiopoulos, J. (2012). Comparative interpretation of count, presence-absence and point methods for species distribution models. Methods Ecol. Evol. 3(1): 177-187. dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2041-210X.2011.00141.x
    Jansen, O.E.; Aarts, G.M; Das, K.; Lepoint, G.; Michel, L.; Reijnders, P.J.H. (2012). Feeding ecology of harbour porpoises: stable isotope analysis of carbon and nitrogen in muscle and bone. Mar. Biol. Res. 8(9): 829-841. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17451000.2012.692164
    Santos, S.; Aarts, G.M; Luttikhuizen, P.C.; Campos, J.; Piersma, T.; van der Veer, H.W. (2012). Site-specific distribution of the bivalve Scrobicularia plana along the European coast. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 471: 123-134. http://dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps10017
    Scheidat, M.; Verdaat, H.; Aarts, G.M (2012). Using aerial surveys to estimate density and distribution of harbour porpoises in Dutch waters. J. Sea Res. 69: 1-7. dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seares.2011.12.004
  • 2011
    Aarts, G.M; Koolhaas, A.; Dekinga, A.; Holthuijsen, S.; Ten Horn, J.; Smith, J.; Brugge, M.; Piersma, T.; van der Veer, H.W. (2011). Benthic macrofauna in relation to natural gas extraction in the Dutch Wadden Sea Report on the 2008 and 2009 sampling program. NIOZ-rapport, 2011(3). NIOZ: Texel. 41 pp.
    Matthiopoulos, J.; Hebblewhite, M.; Aarts, G.M; Fieberg, J. (2011). Generalized functional responses for species distributions. Ecology 92(3): 583-589. dx.doi.org/10.1890/10-0751.1
    van der Veer, H.W.; Koot, J.; Aarts, G.M; Dekker, R.; Diderich, W.; Freitas, V.; Witte, J.IJ. (2011). Long-term trends in juvenile flatfish indicate a dramatic reduction in nursery function of the Balgzand intertidal, Dutch Wadden Sea. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 434: 143-154. dx.doi.org/10.3354/meps09209

Linked projects

UUNIOZ_Cascading effects of sea-level rise on intertidal ecosystems
Supervisor
Allert Bijleveld
Funder
Utrecht University
Project duration
1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2025
UUNIOZ_Cascading effects of sea-level rise on intertidal ecosystems
Supervisor
Allert Bijleveld
Funder
Utrecht University
Project duration
1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2025