Project properties

Title The role of habitat quality for bird cognition (field projects)
Group Behavioural Ecology
Project type thesis
Credits 36
Supervisor(s) Eva Serrano (NIOO-KNAW)
Kees van Oers (WUR/NIOO)
Examiner(s) Prof. dr Kees van Oers
Contact info
Begin date 2022/01/01
End date 2024/01/31
Description Animals differ in how they acquire knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and the senses. Can habitat changes shape these differences? How may habitat variation influence behavioural performance in wild birds and its fitness consequences?

To answer these questions, we will conduct experiments in a natural study population of great tit (Parus major) in the Westerheide (WH) study area near Arnhem (The Netherlands). It covers 250 ha of mixed wood, in which approximately 200 nestboxes were provided from 1995 onwards.

For the breeding (April-July) and non-breeding seasons (July-November), we are looking for highly motivated, independent students in ecology/biology to join us during fieldwork. This topic is suitable for both long and short-term internships. This project offers the opportunity to gain experience in fieldwork, including habitat and invertebrate availability measures, bird handling and behavioural tests. Additionally, the students will develop their research skills. There is room to come up with research questions (within the scope of the project) and to analyse data collected during the breeding season.
Used skills Candidates must be able to demonstrate skill and enthusiasm for biological research as well as be aware that fieldwork requires the ability to work under extreme field conditions and flexibility in time, also outside the normal working hours. A driver license is very useful. Ability to engage in independent work is expected. The working language will be English, and Dutch language skills are not a requirement.
Requirements also internship is possible