dr.ir. AR (Anouschka) HofUniversitair docent
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In addition to being an assistant professor in wildlife ecology at Wageningen University, I hold a position as researcher at the Swedish university of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Umeå, Sweden. As a landscape ecologist interested in wildlife conservation, it is my mission to help mitigate the negative effects of increasing anthropogenic impacts on biodiversity. My scientific vision is to 1) increase our understanding of how anthropogenic impacts affect the ecological processes that determine the distribution of wildlife at landscape scales, and 2) to use this increased understanding to enhance the effectiveness of wildlife conservation. I combine modelling techniques with fieldwork to get a better understanding of how species are faring, now and in the future. My main focus is on mammals and birds in cold-climate regions and boreal forest ecosystems.
I focused especially on species conservation during my doctorate research, conducted at Royal Holloway, university of London, where I studied potential drivers of the decline of the West European hedgehog in the UK. I further lead an ongoing project aimed at the conservation of the locally endangered black guillemot population in the Baltic Sea region in collaboration with The Ume River Delta Field Station and others. We monitor some colonies, fit colour rings to the legs of juveniles and adults and using camera traps to shed light on behaviour and events during the breeding season. You can read all about this project on http://project-black-guillemot.weebly.com/
Much of my work has a strong focus on landscape ecology in which I try to understand how climate change may affect species distributions in future at a landscape scale. I started this work when I was a postdoctoral researcher at Umeå University in Sweden. Much of this work has thus far focused on subarctic and arctic species since these are expected to be especially vulnerable to future climate change. I however wish to continue this line of research for other parts of the world, using the newest Species Distribution Modelling techniques.
In addition to focussing on species I study the impact of climate change on forest ecosystems and the species they harbour, using landscape simulation models. Such models can provide useful insights in e.g. how and how much of the forest landscape must be restored to provide a suitable habitat to species of conservation concern. I used such a model (Landis II) to study exactly this for the white-backed woodpecker during my position at SLU. I also used Landis II to study how the provision of ecosystem services such as timber production, carbon sequestration and the provision of wildlife habitat may be affected by changing management strategies under varying climatic conditions. I conducted this work at the forest and wildlife ecology lab from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Landis II has been developed.