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Research GELIFES Conservation Ecology Group

Intertidal foodweb studies

Piersma Lab - Research
Research People Publications

The variety of shorebirds that feature as research subjects in some of the above themes, have themselves generated a long tradition of in-depth studies on foraging and energetics in which our group was involved. Studies on food selection and intake rates by the shorebirds eating intertidal invertebrates naturally lead to focussed studies on the antipredation behaviour of these prey. The work on bivalve-specialist shorebirds such as red knots, oystercatchers and eiders, has thus spawned studies on the life-history, population genetics and biogeography of important mollusc prey, especially the Baltic tellin and its many Tellinid relatives. This work has usually been carried out in close co-operation with sister institutes, especially the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) on Texel, in their research programmes on intertidal foodwebs and coastal marine community structure. The very fact that many of the shorebirds studied in the Wadden Sea migrate onwards to intertidal areas elsewhere has opened opportunities for comparative work on population biology, foodwebs and community structure of intertidal soft sediment systems worldwide. Currently our group is involved in such studies in the Wadden Sea, West-Africa and Northwest Australia, usually with a focus on the role of molluscivore shorebirds and their bivalve prey.

Last modified:03 December 2015 1.04 p.m.