Wader habitats (estuaries) are under threat since they also host high human population densities and many economic activities. Consequently, shorebirds are declining worldwide.
Most conflicts regarding the management of wader populations in Europe arise from an inability to reliably predict the impact of human activities and environmental changes on these birds. Individual-based population-dynamic models recently developed provide a major step forward in overcoming this problem. The objective of this project is to build a spatially explicit model including a full annual cycle for the Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus.
The project will specifically target the wintering population of Oystercatchers in the Oosterschelde Estuary in The Netherlands, which has been monitored using a large ringing scheme prior to, during and after a period of major infrastructural works, covering the years 1984-1994. During this period their food sources in the area were also monitored. Ample data on resightings throughout the annual cycle are available.
The project will be divided into five phases:
- analysis of available recovery/resighting data (using multi-strata models) to describe patterns in habitat use throughout the annual cycle,
- to link data on population numbers and spatial and temporal itineraries to survival and reproductive success,
- to develop and parameterise stochastic dynamic game models, allowing spatially and temporally explicit predictions of habitat use,
- to predict the response of bird populations to a range of simulated environmental changes, and
- to validate models with observations.
Results of this project should be of considerable value to land-managers and policy makers in drawing up policies that most effectively combine human activities with the conservation of biodiversity in wetlands.
Call for proposal
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