Student subject

Vogeltrekstation (NIOO-KNAW) in Wageningen offers a student internships where you will take our preliminary analyses on ring recoveries and breeding success of Dutch White Storks one step further, in order to investigate whether the population can survive without supplemental feeding. This project is a collaboration between Vogelbescherming Nederland, SOVON Vogelonderzoek Nederland, STORK and Vogeltrekstation. During the second half of the last century, white stork Ciconia ciconia populations became extinct or nearly extinct in many Western European countries including the Netherlands. An intensive reintroduction programme was initiated in 1969, consisting of a captive breeding programme and of providing nest sites and food at release stations. This resulted in restoring the white stork population in the Netherlands up to its level before 1945. However, not all birds survive without supplemental feeding, and still rely to some extent on care. Monitoring of breeding success suggests that reproductive output is lower away from release sites, and one third of the adult white storks do not show natural migration behaviour, although most young birds do seem to migrate. This project aims to evaluate whether the reproductive output and survival of Dutch white storks that do not rely on care is sufficiently high to maintain a viable population in the long run. You will build on preliminary analyses of reproduction, survival, dispersal and migration in relation to feeding status, that are currently under way. The results of the analyses will be fed into a population model with which a Population Viability Analysis will be carried out to test the effect of different scenario’s on the viability of the population. Successful applicants for this internship will be expected to have some affinity with the analysis of large datasets and an interest in capture-recapture analyses. You will be guided in these analyses, but are also expected to show a great deal of independence. The students will be integrated in the highly active Animal Ecology group of the NIOO, attending literature discussions and seminars. contact: Time frame: 4 months, starting date flexible.