Posting on behalf of Marwa Kavelaars
Research assistant vacancy / Master student project
I am investigating (a) how lesser Black-backed gulls achieve efficient within-pair coordination and potentially equality in reproductive investment and (b) how foraging specialisation both in terms of degree (generalist-specialist spectrum) and type (anthropogenic, terrestrial, or marine) of specialisation affects their reproductive success.
The fieldwork will take place from mid-April until mid-July 2017. During the fieldwork breeding pairs will be observed and cameras will be set up to monitor their behaviour at the nest. It also involves the measuring and weighing of chicks to follow their development and fledging success. After the field season the videos will be analysed with the programme “The ObserverXT” at the University of Antwerp.
In addition, I will collect samples for stable isotope analyses throughout the breeding season and process them in the lab for stable isotope analysis. Stable isotopes show a step-wise enrichment with trophic level and are deposited in tissues of the consumer. Depending on the timing that a tissue developed, this method allows obtaining dietary information over different snapshots throughout the reproductive cycle.
I am looking for enthusiastic students, who like working in the field/lab and can cope with at sometimes difficult working conditions. It is also possible to do your Master project. Previous field experience is desirable, but not essential. Fieldwork will take place in Vlissingen (the Netherlands), a driving license is a prerequisite. Data will be analysed in the statistical programme R, and previous experience is an advantage.
If you are interested, please get in touch with Marwa Kavelaars Marwa.Kavelaars@uantwerpen.be or look for more information on: https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/staff/wendt-mueller/family-ecology-unit/