Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Royal Netherlands
Institute for Sea Research

Linking individual specialisation to population dynamics in seabirds

The Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull are generalist species known to eat everything from fish to French fries. Yet, every individual is specialised on a particular diet. At NIOZ we study the consequences of these individual specialisations by quantifying individual diets and link this to foraging behaviour and reproductive success. Several methods will be used to quantify diets of adults and of chicks: regurgitate analysis, stable isotope analysis, tracking data of individuals with GPS tags.


Fieldwork will be carried out in a breeding colony on Texel where both gull species breed. We start fieldwork end of April when the first eggs are expected, and continue until the last chicks have fledged in July. Diet samples are taken to the lab where they will be sorted.

Research project

Within the scope of ongoing research, various research projects can be thought of. Examples are: ‘Do chick diets overlap with that of their parents?’ , ‘Diet-specific chick growth’ , ‘Within-year and between-year repeatability in diet’ , ‘Diet-dependent reproduction and adult survival’.

Extra information

We are looking for a motivated MSc student who has great affinity with fieldwork and data analysis. You must be prepared to work in some weekends as well. Click here for more information.

Daily supervisors

Rosemarie Kentie ( and Kees Camphuysen (


Starting April 2019

The Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull breeding colony at Texel (© R. Kentie).