Save the chicks to save the population

Wednesday 14 September 2022, 10:30
PhD defence
Causes of spatiotemporal variation in reproductive performance of Eurasian oystercatchers in a human-dominated landscape
Speaker or Ph. D. student
M. Frauendorf MSc.
prof. dr. J.C.J.M. de Kroon
dr. B.J. Ens, dr. ir. E. Jongejans, dr. M. van de Pol
Plant Ecology and Physiology, Radboud Institute for Biological and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science

Understanding how anthropogenic impacts affect population dynamics at a large spatial scale is crucial to be able to explain why species are threatened. I aimed to get better insight in the factors driving the population dynamics of the Eurasian oystercatcher in the Netherlands by focusing on reproduction parameters.

The overall average reproductive success is too low to keep the population stable and we should focus on increasing hatchling survival (compared to clutch survival) to increase the overall reproductive output. Predator abundance plays an important role in explaining variation in reproductive output and habitat with less food results in higher vulnerability to predation. In areas with more mammalian predators and high breeding density, clutch survival is lower than in areas with more avian predators. A higher proportion of grassland at the wintering ground increases the winter body condition, in turn, resulting in higher chick survival in the subsequent season.

Reducing land use intensity, increasing abundance of alternative prey species for predators, preserving grasslands close to the coast, considering predator community before deciding where to construct new attractive meadow bird reserves may be suitable management implications to increase reproductive output of oystercatchers across the Netherlands.

Magali Frauendorf born 1988 in Germany received her Bachelor of Applied Science in Wildlife Management at Van Hall Larenstein (2012) and her Master of Science in the study Forest and Nature Conservation at Wageningen University (2016). In December 2016, she started her PhD in the project CHIRP (Cumulative Human Impact on biRd Populations) at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in collaboration with Radboud University and Sovon, Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology. Currently, she works at Altenburg & Wymenga ecological research, where she is mainly involved in projects concerning meadow birds, shorebirds and goose management.

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