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BSc-MSc Thesis and Internship Projects, Wageningen University

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Adapting to city life: a study of the biological rhythms of forest and city birds
Urbanization provides a fantastic opportunity to study the evolutionary processes in action. Cities profoundly change the environment, putting organisms under contrastingly distinct selective pressures when compared to natural env ...
Supervisor: Barbara Tomotani (NIOO-KNAW Wageningen) & Marc Naguib
Department: Behavioural Ecology
 
Early nutrition & feather pecking in laying hens
Feather pecking is a big welfare problem in commercial laying hens. This project aims to study the ontogeny of feather pecking in early life and to develop nutritional strategies that can act as an intervention to prevent feather  ...
Supervisor: Annemarie Mens, Bonne Beerda
Department: Behavioural Ecology
 
Tracking cuckoos: how do they select a suitable host nest to lay their egg?
Cuckoos lay their eggs in nests of other species who subsequently take care of it. How do cuckoos find and select a nest to lay their egg in? What do they base their choice on? Using radio-telemetry, we will follow levaillant’s cu ...
Supervisor: Sjouke A. Kingma
Kat L. Bebbington

Department: Behavioural Ecology
 
Climate change and heat-stress in birds: Does climate affect behaviour and/or physiology of wild birds?
The world’s climate is rapidly changing; whether individuals can adapt to such change is highly unclear. In this project we will catch birds and monitor nests to determine how climatic variables affect individuals health, parental ...
Supervisor: Kat Bebbington
Sjouke Anne Kingma

Department: Behavioural Ecology
 
Conflict over parental care: are parents negotiating?
Since parental care is costly, evolutionary theory states that each parents wants the other parent to do the majority of the work in raising offspring. One proposed mechanism by which parents are predicted to avoid being exploited ...
Supervisor: Kat Bebbington
Sjouke Anne Kingma

Department: Behavioural Ecology
 
Insect behaviour: Behavioural adaptations against parasite spread in bumblebees. Laboratory based experimental work.
Bumblebees are primitively eusocial insects. They lack many of the sophisticated social defences against parasite spread that are thought to be key to the ecological success of highly eusocial insects, such as honey bees and ants. ...
Supervisor: Séverine Kotrschal
Department: Behavioural Ecology
 
The Cinderella-effect: do stepparents have a negative effect on individuals? [comparative study]
In humans, the prevalence of abuse and violence among step-parents and their step-children is higher than that among that of biological parents and their children. In group-living birds, where individuals stay with their parents f ...
Supervisor: Sjouke A. Kingma
Department: Behavioural Ecology
 
What determines egg size in birds?
Bird eggs are surprisingly different in colour, shape and size. Surprisingly, we do not know why. Using a dataset, augmented with data from handbooks of birds, we will try to find out! ...
Supervisor: Sjouke Anne Kingma
Department: Behavioural Ecology
 
Sexual selection in female birds: what determines sexual dimorphism in colour, song and size?
Birds are highly variable in appearance and size and their song varies substantially. Tradionally this is seen as the result from selection on males to compete for females. Recently, sexual selection was invoked also to explain va ...
Supervisor: Sjouke Anne Kingma
Department: Behavioural Ecology
 
Nest-site selection and habitat preference of savanna birds
In this project, you will determine the habitat characteristics and niches of different species of birds. This can be expanded by determining characteristics of the environment like food availability and by incorporating how these ...
Supervisor: Sjouke A. Kingma
Kat L. Bebbington
(in collaboration with other groups, for example PEN)

Department: Behavioural Ecology
 
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