Marine ecologist Kees Camphuysen obtained his PhD for his long-term research into the herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls in colonies on the island of Texel. ‘These birds’ lives are strongly related to commercial fishing activities on the North Sea. The development of the chicks is synchronised with commercial fishing efforts in the vicinity. For example, the chicks scarcely grow on a Saturday or a Sunday, and cannibalism is high if the fishing boats are in harbour during weekends. Alternative sources of food, of which there are many, are insufficient to stave off this weekly recurring starvation. For the herring gull, there is a strong relationship with food supplies in cities. Since we have covered up landfill areas, somewhere in the 1990s, herring gulls turned their attention to our villages, towns and tourist centres. Natural resources are insufficient to maintain the populations which increased so strongly in the past. Consequently, the number of herring gulls has been decreasing for many years.’
‘Ultimately, this sort of puzzle is just a small part of a far bigger picture. Research into birds requires a proper understanding of their environment, but also of their relations with other species. In our current research in the North Sea, we are trying to map and quantify all of those complex connections. This concerns interactions between species – many birds and sea mammals are mutually dependent in their search for food – but also the characteristics of the areas they forage in. Not everything that floats on the North Sea is water. Salt concentrations, depth, currents, seabed fauna and visibility are just a few of the factors that determine why one location can be highly suitable for a species, while another is not.’
‘It is highly tempting for a biologist to use transmitters and other high-tech equipment to study not just one species but even a limited number of individuals. However, you then risk losing sight of the bigger picture, notably the species interactions. By no longer viewing bird research independently of the environment and the interactions between different species, we understand more about the impact of human interventions, such as the construction of offshore wind parks or offshore islands. As research below the water surface is relatively difficult, we combine seagoing research of the clearly visible birds and seals, for example, with demographical studies in their colonies or roosts on land. By simultaneously measuring their “performance” on land (e.g. survival, number and growth of the young), we hope to learn more about the quality of their living environment at sea.’
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Marine studies and research interests (1984-present) include at-sea work in the Atlantic Ocean, studying offshore distribution patterns, ecological interactions and interactions with fisheries of charismatic megafauna (whales, dolphins, turtles, seals, large predatory fish, and seabirds). Areas of research include the Greenland Sea, Norwegian Sea, North Sea, Atlantic Ocean, NW African shelf waters, SW African shelf waters, South Georgia, South America, and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Seabird colony studies on the foraging ecology, demography and migratory movements of Herring Gull Larus argentatus and Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus. Colony work commenced in 2005, colour-ringing programmes and diet studies since 2006, and GPS tracking since 2008.
Studies of marine oil pollution since early 1970s through systematic beached bird surveys within The Netherlands and impact assessments of major oil spills throughout Europe.
Recent research interests in collaboration with the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) focus on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fisheries worldwide.
Senior scientist at Royal Netherlands Institute of Sea Research (NIOZ)
Senior scientist Programme Biodiversity Oil and Gas, Mauritania
Secretary of the World Seabird Union
Standing member European Seabirds at Sea database
Former chairman Dutch seabird group
Fellowship Nederlands Studiecentrum Criminaliteit en Rechtshandhaving (NSCR)
Member editorial board ICES Journal of Marine Science
Member editorial board Seabird
Former member editorial board Lutra
Former member editorial board and former Technical editor Ardea
Former editor in chief Atlantic Seabirds
Former editor in chief Sula
Donk S. van, C.J. Camphuysen, J. Shamoun-Baranes & J. van der Meer 2017. The most common diet results in low reproduction in a generalist seabird. Ecology and Evolution DOI: 10.1002/ece3.3018.
Shamoun-Baranes J., J.B. Burant, E.E. van Loon, W. Bouten & C.J. Camphuysen 2016. Short distance migrants travel as far as long distance migrants in lesser black-backed gulls Larus fuscus. J. Avian. Biol. 47: doi: 10.1111/jav.01299.
Camphuysen C.J., J. Shamoun-Baranes, E.E. van Loon & W. Bouten 2015. Sexually distinct foraging strategies in an omnivorous seabird. Mar. Biol. 162: 1417-1428.
Camphuysen C.J., J. Shamoun-Baranes, W. Bouten & S. Garthe 2012. Identifying ecologically important marine areas for seabirds using behavioural information in combination with distribution patterns. Biol. Conserv. 156: 22-29.
Camphuysen C.J. & A. Gronert 2012. Apparent survival and fecundity of sympatric Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls with contrasting population trends. Ardea 100: 113-122.
Camphuysen C.J. & P.A. Henderson 2017. North sea fish and their remains. Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research & Pisces Conservation Ltd, Texel, The Netherlands, 325pp. ISBN 9781904690658. A summary of the book is to download here.
Camphuysen C.J. & M.L. Siemensma 2011. Conservation plan for the Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena in The Netherlands: towards a favourable conservation status. Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel, 183pp DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2099.9765.
Camphuysen C.J. & Peet G. 2006. Walvissen en dolfijnen in de Noordzee. Fontaine Uitgevers, Kortenhoef, 160pp ISBN-10:90 5956 2216
Camphuysen C.J. & Peet G. 2006. Whales and dolphins of the North Sea. Fontaine Uitgevers, Kortenhoef, 160pp ISBN-13:978 98 5956 2219
Boyd I.J., Wanless S. and Camphuysen C.J. (eds) Top predators in Marine Ecosystems: monitoring change in upper trophic levels. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.
Bijlsma R.G., Hustings F. & Camphuysen C.J. 2001. Algemene en schaarse vogels van Nederland. Avifauna van Nederland, 2. KNNV Uitgeverij Utrecht en GMB Uitgeverij, Haarlem, 497pp. ISBN 90-74345-21-2
Camphuysen C.J. & C. Smeenk 2016. Noordkaper - Bruinvis. In total 27 book chapters In: Broekhuizen S., K. Spoelstra, J.B.M. Thissen, K.J. Canters & J.C. Buys (eds) 2016. Atlas van de Nederlandse Zoogdieren: 302-374. Natuur van Nederland 12, Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Eis Kenniscentrum insecten en andere ongewervelden, Zoogdiervereniging en KNNV Uitgeverij, Zeist.
Camphuysen C.J. & M. Heubeck 2015. Beached bird surveys in the North Sea as an instrument to measure levels of chronic oil pollution. In: Carpenter A. (ed.) Oil Pollution in the North Sea 193-208. Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York.
Camphuysen C.J. & B. Vollaard 2015. Oil pollution in the Dutch sector of the North Sea. In: Carpenter A. (ed.) Oil Pollution in the North Sea: 117-140. Handbook of Environmental Chemistry, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York.
Zuur A.F. & C.J. Camphuysen 2012. Generalised additive models applied on northern gannets. In: Zuur A.F. (ed.) A beginner's guide to generalised additive models with R: 145-168. Highland Statistics, Newburgh.
Camphuysen C.J. & de Leeuw, J. 2011. The impact of hydrophobic and insoluble chemicals released from merchant shipping on European marine ecosystems and wildlife. In: Calewaert J.B. & N. McDonough (eds) Chemical Pollution in Europe's Seas: Programmes, Practices and Priorities for Research, Marine Board Position Paper 16: 51-63. Marine Board-ESF, Ostend, Belgium.
Camphuysen C.J., B. Scott & S. Wanless 2006. Distribution and foraging interactions of seabirds and marine mammals in the North Sea: multi-species foraging assemblages and habitat-specific feeding strategies. In: Boyd I.J., Wanless S. & Camphuysen C.J. (eds) Top predators in Marine Ecosystems: monitoring change in upper trophic levels: 82-97. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge.
Camphuysen C.J. 2001. Seabirds and fisheries interaction. In: Steele J.H., Thorpe S.A. & Turekian K.K. (eds) Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences: 2677-2686. Academic Press, London.
Bourne W.R.P. & Camphuysen C.J. 2000. Seabirds. Chapter 114, In: Sheppard C. (ed.) Seas at the Millenium, an environmental evaluation: 105-116. Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Camphuysen C.J. & Garthe S. 2000. Seabirds and commercial fisheries: population trends of piscivorous seabirds explained? In: Kaiser M.J. & Groot S.J. de (eds). Effects of fishing on non-target species and habitats: Biological, Conservation and Socio-Economic Issues: 163-184. Blackwell Science, Oxford.
Camphuysen C.J. 1997. Ivory Gull Pagophila eburnea. In: Hagemeijer J.M. & Blair M. (eds) The EBCC atlas of European breeding birds: their distribution and abundance: 348. T. & A.D. Poyser, London.
Camphuysen C.J. 1994. Ivory Gull Pagophila eburnea. In: Tucker G.M. & Heath M.F. (eds). Birds in Europe - their conservations status: 290-291. Birdlife Conservation Series No. 3, Birdlife International, Cambridge.
Camphuysen C.J. 1985. Zeetrektellingen. In: Hustings M.F.H., Kwak R.G.M., Opdam P.F.M. & Reijnen M.J.S.M. (eds). Vogelinventarisatie: 215-219. Pudoc, Wageningen.