Research into the effects of foraging strategies in a generalist species
There is no dispute about the international importance of the Wadden Sea for myriads of migratory waterbirds. Most these birds breed further to the north and winter further to the south: for them, the Wadden Sea is their stop-over. Some birds, however, rely on the Wadden Sea for breeding. The Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) for example.
Even if a species is known as a generalist, this does not necessarily entail that all individuals of that species have the same diet. Some may be very selective in the choice of food, others may have a more varied diet. Although such individual differences occur in many species, the consequences of differences in foraging strategy are still poorly understood.
In this project we investigate the consequences of foraging strategies of herring gulls (Larus argentatus) that breed on Texel. We examine whether differences in foraging strategies among gulls are reflected in chick growth, breeding success and energy budgets of the parents. We also investigate whether gulls with different diets respond differently to changes in their environment.