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

UUNIOZ_Using isotopic indicators

Using isotopic indicators to identify foraging history and nutritional condition prior to stranding of  Phocoena phocoena

Since 2005, harbour porpoise strandings in Europe have occurred predominantly on Dutch beaches at higher rates than expected solely due to increased population, potentially indicating a local cause. We propose to apply stable isotope analyses to multiple archived porpoise tissues (collagen, muscle, blood) and their extracted amino acids to assess where porpoises reside across their lifetimes (Wadden or North Seas, or Dutch estuaries) and the temporal extent of starvation prior to death. Combining marine mammal expertise, archived materials, and isotopic analytical capabilities between UU and NIOZ provides a unique opportunity to provide spatial and nutritional context to this apex predator.

Harbour porpoise strandings in Europe have occurred predominately on Dutch beaches for reasons unknown. Photo: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University

Joint research

This project is part of the joint research of Utrecht University and the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research concerning the functioning of (coastal) seas and oceans.  Pairs of scienists will carry out interdisciplinary research into pressing scientific and societal issues that tie in with the strategic themes of both organisations. In addition to the Faculties of Science and Geosciences, also the Faculties of Law, Economics and Governance, and Veterinary Medicine of the UU are involved. The projects are part of the agreement to intensify the collaboration UU-NIOZ (2016-2025), funded by UU.

Project information

Research leaders 
Prof. Dr. Stefan Schouten (NIOZ)
Prof. Dr. Andrea Gröne (Utrecht University)

Theme 
Sustainable functioning of Coastal and Shelf Seas

UU-NIOZ project page
For more information on this project and other UU-NIOZ projects, visit the joint UU-NIOZ project page 

Meet the team
Below you find the NIOZ employee(s) working in this team. For a complete overview including Utrecht University team members visit the joint UU-NIOZ project page 

Project information
Linked department:
Linked centre of expertise:
Linked page:
Funder:
Utrecht University
Duration:
1 Jan 2021 - 31 Dec 2025
Partner
  • Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Meet the team

 
Schouten, Stefan
Senior Research Leader
 
Meer van der, Marcel
Head of Analytical Laboratory

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