Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research
Phone number
+31 (0)222 36 9418
  • Population ecology, mark-recapture analysis
  • Evolution, phenotypic plasticity, developmental plasticity
  • Migration
  • Environmental change
  • Foraging ecology, habitat choice
National Geogrpahic article april 2020

Dr. Tamar Lok


Research interests

I am a biologist with a broad interest in animal behaviour, population ecology and evolution. I have a special interest in the evolution of migratory behaviour. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the intriguing phenotypic variation in migratory behaviour will learn us more about the flexibility and constraints of migratory animals to keep track in a world that is constantly changing. 



2019-present: VENI post-doctoral fellow, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel, The Netherlands. Project: The ontogeny of migration: the interplay of genes and environment and how this affects the adaptability of migratory species to a changing world.

2017-2018: Post-doctoral researcher, NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, Texel, The Netherlands. Project: Individual development of migratory strategies of coastal birds.

2015-2016 : Rubicon post-doctoral fellow, Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionelle et Evolutive, CNRS, Montpellier, France.  Project: The adaptability of migratory animals to a rapidly changing world: novel measures from an integrated analysis of count, mark-recapture and telemetry data. Collaborators: Dr Olivier Gimenez, Dr Roger Pradel

2013–2014: Post-doctoral researcher, Animal Ecology Group, University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Project: Demography of waders along the East-Asian Australasian flyway. Collaborator: Prof. Theunis Piersma



A complete list of my publications can be found on my personal website and on Researchgate.


Professional education

2013           PhD, University of Groningen, cum laude (Promotors: Prof. Dr. Theunis Piersma and Prof. Dr. Joost Tinbergen). Thesis title: Spoonbills as a model system: a demographic cost-benefit analysis of differential migration.

2005           M.Sc. Evolutionary Biology (Topmaster programme), University of Groningen, cum laude

2003           B.Sc. Biology, University of Groningen


Awards and prizes

2018: NWO Veni award. The ontogeny of migration: an interplay of genes and environment (250 k€)

2015: NWO Rubicon award. The adaptability of migratory animals to a rapidly changing world: novel measures from an integrated analysis of count, mark-recapture and telemetry data. (110 k€)

2014: Van Swinderen prize (2nd place) for best Dutch summary of a PhD-thesis at University of Groningen

2008: NWO Open Aanvraag. Fitness consequences of migration in the spoonbill: a comparative approach.  (175 k€)



For more information about me and my research, please visit my personal website

Linked news

Tuesday 29 October 2019
Migratory birds are worse off in West Africa
Migratory sandpipers breeding in Greenland who choose to spend the winter in West Africa instead of elsewhere along the East Atlantic coast have a lower chance of survival, are more likely to skip their first breeding season and arrive later at their…
Thursday 05 September 2019
Help mee bij het volgen van jonge lepelaars op eerste zuidwaartse trek vanuit de Waddenzee
Onderzoekers van het NIOZ Koninklijk Nederlands Instituut voor Zeeonderzoek vragen natuurliefhebbers om als ‘citizen scientist’ (burgerwetenschapper) mee te helpen bij het in kaart brengen van de trekroutes van jonge lepelaars. Belangrijk, want we…
Monday 16 July 2018
2 Veni-financieringen voor NIOZ-onderzoekers | 2 Veni grants for NIOZ researchers
[Scroll down for English version] De Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) heeft twee veelbelovende NIOZ wetenschappers een Veni-financiering van 250.000 euro toegekend. Hiermee kunnen zij gedurende drie jaar hun eigen…

Linked blogs

Monday 15 March 2021
NIOZ podcast Van Delta tot Diepzee aflevering 9 De lepelaar als pleegkind
Texel heeft vanouds een kolonie gehad, ook toen de vogel in de rest van Nederland bijna was verdwenen. Maar ze zijn weer terug, ook op de andere eilanden, een vertrouwde, zwijgzame, sneeuwwitte, slanke en sierlijke verschijning, hoog op de poten,…
Monday 31 August 2020
Tracking juvenile spoonbills 2020
This is the second year of tracking juvenile spoonbills, with the aim to investigate the importance of social information and habitat quality in shaping the migration routes of young spoonbills.
Tuesday 08 October 2019
SPOONBILLS | Alex crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Africa
After a stay of two weeks at the Bay of Cadiz, Alex decided to make the crossing to Africa in the morning of October 1st. An intensive monitoring of the departure of spoonbills from Spain to Morocco is being performed every year in autumn by the…
Friday 20 September 2019
SPOONBILLS | Arno and Veer were observed in France!
Ornithologists from the Maison de l’Estuaire managed to trace Arno in the Seine estuary. He was resting in a group of 27 other spoonbills, and looked healthy. One of his group mates was colour-ringed.
Tuesday 17 September 2019
SPOONBILLS | The French are closely followed by the Dutch: also Arno and Veer are on their way!
Blog4: Last Friday, one day after the first Camargue juvenile spoonbills departed, the Dutch juvenile Arno left from Schiermonnikoog, and flew to the Grevelingenmeer in the Dutch Delta where he spent the night. The next morning, he continued his trip…
Friday 13 September 2019
SPOONBILLS | Migration has started, Ravi and Alex have departed
Blog 3: Yesterday (12 September), around midday, Ravi departed from the Marais du Vigueirat in westerly direction. He stayed close to the coast, maximally 17 km offshore, from where he could still see the coast, flying at about 300 m altitude. The…
Tuesday 03 September 2019
SPOONBILLS | Post-fledging movements
Blog 2: After fledging, and before their first southward migration, juvenile spoonbills often roam around much more than adult birds do during this period. These so-called post-fledging movements allow juvenile birds to explore their environment and…
Thursday 15 August 2019
SPOONBILLS | Meet the Juveniles
Blog 1: To investigate the importance of social information and habitat quality in shaping the migration routes of young spoonbills, we have equipped 20 juvenile spoonbills with a GPS-GSM transmitter in June 2019, 10 on Schiermonnikoog (The…
Wednesday 26 June 2019
Introduction | Tracking movements of Spoonbills
Spoonbills that breed in The Netherlands spend the winter along the Atlantic coast between France and Senegal. But why do some spoonbills fly only a few hundred kilometres to spend the winter in France, whereas others continue their journey for more…

NIOZ publications

Linked projects

How do migratory birds find their way
Tamar Lok
Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research - Veni/Vidi/Vici
Project duration
1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2021