Seabirds such as the sandwich tern, guillemot and razorbill are an important part of the North Sea and Wadden Sea ecosystems. Wageningen Marine Research monitors these bird populations through ship-based surveys and transmitter and camera research. Our researchers also operate in the Dutch Caribbean and polar regions. Through our work, we contribute to insight in migration routes, foraging behaviour and the protection of endangered species.

  • Zeevogels

Sandwich terns on Texel

Each spring, some 12,000 sandwich sterns breed in the Dutch Wadden Sea. Hatchlings are ringed since 2014, allowing the birds to be tracked throughout their lifetime. In 2020 we equipped 15 sandwich terns with GPS-trackers to discover where they forage at sea. We also use cameras to register their diving. By monitoring behaviour, we can see what effect sand nourishment has on the sandwich tern population in the Wadden Sea.

Arctic seabirds

Rob van Bemmelen spent five years studying colonies and migration routes of the red and the red-necked phalarope, arctic skuas and long-tailed skuas in the northernmost parts of Norway and Sweden. The birds were equipped with geolocators. Some red-necked phalaropes travelled as far as 10,000 kilometres between their breeding grounds in the polar circle and their winter habitat on the ocean! Rob kept a blog on his now completed PhD study.

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