I am an ecologist with the main research focus on animal movement ecology. I am principally curious to understand how environmental factors shape spatiotemporal patterns of animal movements in order to better comprehend not only their ecology and interactions with the environment but also interactions with other organisms. So far, my research mainly focused on reptiles and amphibians, their ecology and genetics. For my master thesis, I assessed seasonal differences in movement patterns of northern bluetongues (Tiliqua scincoides intermedia) in response to temperature in two different Australian habitats.
Here, at the University of Amsterdam, I am trying to understand how environmental factors, such as weather, coastlines, time of a day and year influence nocturnal bird migration patterns over the North Sea. Bird migration is an impressive phenomenon that has always tickled curiosity of scientists with different backgrounds, due to its complexity and uniqueness. Nocturnal bird migration, especially over inhospitable areas, such as the North Sea is poorly understood due to the lack of field data, as it is very hard to follow birds migrating over such a large water body. For my PhD project, I am using a combination of data collected by specific bird radars located at offshore wind farm platforms and at the coast of the North Sea, as well as at the coastal network of weather radars in countries surrounding the North Sea to extract biological information with special algorithms and shed a light on numbers of birds that are crossing this area, identify their migratory flyways, altitudes they are flying at and environmental factors that are driving not only the seasonal migration occurrence but also day-to-day migration. As it is generally believed that bird migration is strongly driven by weather patterns and that the majority of nocturnal migration happens over a couple of carefully chosen nights within seasons, I am hoping to develop a predictive model that will use weather forecast data as an input to predict the intensity of bird migration over the North Sea 48 hours in advance. The purpose of this model is to provide information for offshore wind park managers, so they can shut down the wind turbines in due time on nights with intense migration, in order to decrease the risk of bird collisions with offshore turbines.