Hi, my name is Chiel, I am 26 years old and I work at The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) in Wageningen. I started my PhD studies in September 2017. I study one of the most numerous goose species in the Netherlands, the barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis). The barnacle goose is originally an arctic migrant, which winters in the Netherlands and breeds in Arctic Russia. The population has increased dramatically over the past decades, and coinciding with this increase the barnacle goose expanded its breeding range. Besides colonizing new breeding areas in the arctic, also new breeding colonies occurred in temperate areas. While Swedish breeding populations drastically shortened their migratory journey, the Dutch breeding birds abandoned their migratory lifestyle all together. In my research I am comparing the lifestyles of the non-migratory Dutch breeding birds and the migratory Russian breeding birds. We aim to answer questions on the costs and benefits of migration. How do these populations differ, both behavioural and physiological, in order to have such different lifestyles.
Geese are important primary consumers, but are also an important food source for many predators. Both food conditions as well as predator-prey interactions might differ between the two breeding populations. By following this course on consumer-resource interactions I hope to get a solid background which I can use to understand the importance of these processes in relation to my questions.
In my free time I love to be outside to hike, watch birds, or combine the previous two. Furthermore I enjoy cooking and playing the guitar. I hope we will all have a great time together during this interesting course!