Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
How to find us dr. J.W.H. (Jeroen) Reneerkens

dr. J.W.H. Reneerkens

dr. J.W.H. Reneerkens
06 8669 3574 (Mobiel)


I am a field ecologist interested in the effects of environmental change on long-distance migratory birds. My research focuses on migration ecology, reproductive strategies, seasonal interactions and individual trade-offs of High Arctic shorebirds (Sanderling), and their consequences for population demography, distribution, and conservation. My research project profits from ongoing collaboration with colleagues in Africa and Europe and an international network of > 2000 volunteers.


  • Climate change effects on coastal systems
  • Evolution and ecology of avian migration
  • Demography and population limitation
  • Trophic interactions in High Arctic ecosystems

Academic positions

2020 – present

Royal NIOZ

Postdoctoral Researcher
Arctic warming and migrant shorebirds: warming-induced phenotypic changes and their lifelong impact in both the Arctic and the tropics

Advisor: Jan A. van Gils


A&W Ecological consultancy

Climate change effects on Wadden Sea birds: a literature review

2015 – 2019

University of Groningen

Postdoctoral Researcher

A sentinel for efficient flyway conservation: sanderlings can inform us about the downstream effects of changing High Arctic environments

Advisor: Theunis Piersma

2014 – 2015

Aarhus University

Postdoctoral Researcher

Trophic mismatches in a High Arctic breeding shorebird

Advisor: Niels Martin Schmidt


University of Groningen


Postdoctoral Researcher

METAWAD – Is the Wadden Sea a bottleneck within the annual cycle of migratory shorebirds?

Advisor: Theunis Piersma


University of Groningen


Organiser, lecturer and examiner for 2 months BSc course on ´Ecological Interactions


University of Groningen


Postdoctoral Researcher

Contrasting breeding investments in a small arctic shorebird: trade-off between breeding effort and fighting disease?

Advisor: Theunis Piersma


Royal NIOZ /

University of Groningen


Functional aspects of seasonal variation in preen wax composition in shorebirds

Advisors: Theunis Piersma & Jaap S. Sinninghe Damsté


University of Washington /

Canadian Wildlife Service

Post graduate research

Baseline and stress-induced levels of corticosterone at different life cycle substages in Red Knots – Fieldwork in arctic Canada and lab work in Seattle, USA

Advisors: Marilyn Ramenofsky, John C Wingfield & RI Guy Morrison


University of Groningen/

University of Washington

MSc Biological Sciences with distinction

Corticosterone and unpredictable environments in long-distance migrant shorebirds

Advisors: Theunis Piersma & Marilyn Ramenofsky


Reneerkens J, Versluijs T, Piersma T, Alves J, Boorman M, Hallgrimsson GT, Ntiamoa-Baidu Y, Nuoh A, Gilg O, Lang J, Potts P, Lok T.  (2020) Low fitness at low latitudes: wintering in the tropics increases migratory delays and mortality rates in an arctic-breeding shorebird. Journal of Animal Ecology 89: 691-703 doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.13118

Schmidt NM, Reneerkens J, Hesselberg Christensen J, Olesen M, Roslin T (2019) An ecosystem-wide reproductive failure with more snow in the Arctic. PLOS Biology 17: e3000392 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000392

Bulla M, Reneerkens J, Weiser EL, ... (60 authors)... Lanctot RB, Kempenaers B. Technical Comment on “Global pattern of nest predation is disrupted by climate change in shorebirds”. Science 364: eaaw8529 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaw8529

Brlík V, Koleček J, .... Reneerkens J, ...Procházka P (65 authors) (2019). Weak effects of geolocators on small birds: a meta-analysis controlled for phylogeny and publication bias. Journal of Animal Ecology doi: i: 10.1111/1365‐2656.12962

Moreau J, Perroud L, Bollache L, Yannic G, Teixeira M, Schmidt NM, Reneerkens J, Gilg O (2018) Discriminating uniparental and biparental breeding strategies by monitoring nest temperature. Ibis 160: 13-22 DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12507

Schmidt NM, Hardwick B, Gilg O, Høye TT, Henning PK, Meltofte H, Michelsen A, Mosbacher JB, Raundrup K, Reneerkens J, Stewart L, Roslin T (2017) Interaction webs in Arctic ecosystems – determinants of Arctic change. AMBIO 46(S1):S12-S25 doi: 10.1007/s13280-016-0862-x

Jouta J, Dietz MW, Reneerkens J, Rakhimberdiev E, Hallgrimsson GT, Piersma T, Pen I. (2017) Ecological forensics: Using single point stable isotope values to infer seasonal schedules of animals after two diet switches. Methods in Ecology and Evolution  8: 492-500 DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12695

Bulla M, Valcu M, … Reneerkens J … Kempenaers B (76 authors) (2016). Unexpected diversity in socially synchronized rhythms of shorebirds. Nature 540: 109–113 doi:10.1038/nature20563   PDF (open access)

Reneerkens J, Schmidt NM, Gilg O, Hansen J, Hansen LH, Lang J, Sittler B, Piersma T (2016). Effects of food abundance and early clutch predation on reproductive timing in a high Arctic shorebird exposed to advancements in arthropod abundance. Ecology and Evolution 6: 7375–7386 doi:10.1002/ece3.2361

Lourenço PM, Alves JA, Reneerkens J, Loonstra AHJ, Potts PM, Granadeiro JP, Catry T. Influence of age and sex on winter site fidelity of sanderlings (Calidris alba). PeerJ doi: 10.7717/peerj.2517

Loonstra J, Piersma T, Reneerkens J. (2016). Staging duration and passage population size of Sanderling in the western Dutch Wadden Sea Ardea 104: 49-61. DOI: 10.5253/arde.v104i1.a4

Weiser EL, Lanctot RB, …, Reneerkens J… Sandercock  BK (51 authors) (2016). Effects of geolocators on hatching success, return rates, breeding movements and change in body mass in 16 species of Arctic-breeding shorebirds. Movement Ecology 4: 12. DOI: 10.1186/s40462-016-0077-6

Conklin JR, Reneerkens J, Verkuil YI, Tomkovich P, Palsbøll PJ, Piersma T. (2016). Low genetic differentiation between Greenlandic and Siberian Sanderling populations implies a different phylogeographic history than found in Red Knots Journal of Ornithology 157: 325-332. doi:10.1007/s10336-015-1284-4

Wirta H, Vesterinen E, Hambäck P, Weingartner E, Rasmussen C, Reneerkens J, Schmidt NM, Gilg O, Roslin T. (2015). Exposing the structure of an Arctic food web. Ecology & Evolution  5:3842-3856. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1647

Grond K, Ntiamoa-Baidu Y, Piersma T, Reneerkens J. (2015). Prey type and foraging ecology of Sanderlings Calidris alba in different climate zones: are tropical areas more favourable than temperate sites? PeerJ 3: e1125.

Walker BG, Meddle SL, Romero LM, Landys MM, Reneerkens J, Wingfield JC. (2015). Breeding on the extreme edge: Modulation of the adrenocortical response to acute stress in two High Arctic passerines. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A 323: 266-275 DOI:  10.1002/jez.1923 PDF

Ntiamoa-Baidu Y, Nuoh A, Reneerkens J, Piersma T (2014) Population increases in non-breeding Sanderlings in Ghana indicate site preference. Ardea 102: 131-137

Reneerkens J, van Veelen P, van der Velde M, Luttikhuizen P, Piersma T (2014) Within-population variation in mating system and parental care patterns in Sanderling Calidris alba in northeast Greenland. Auk: Ornithological Advances 131: 235-247

Klaassen RG & Reneerkens J (2014). An overview of bird tracking studies in the Netherlands. Limosa 87:58-73.

Gilg O, Moe B, Hanssen SA, Schmidt NM, Sittler B, Hansen J, Reneerkens J, Sabard B, Chastel O, Moreau J, Phillips RA, Oudman T, Biersma EM, Fenstad AA, Lang J, Bollache L (2013) Trans-equatorial migration routes, staging sites and wintering areas of a High Arctic avian predator: the Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudus). PLoS ONE 8(5): e64614.

Lemke H, Bowler J, Reneerkens J (2012) Establishing the right period to estimate juvenile proportions of wintering sanderlings via telescope scans in western Scotland. Wader Study Group Bulletin 119: 129-132

Hansen J, Schmidt NM, Reneerkens J (2011) Egg hatchability in high Arctic breeding wader species Charadriiformes is not affected by determining incubation stage using the egg flotation technique. Bird Study 58: 522-525

Luttikhuizen PC, Bol A, Witte H, van Bleijswijk J, Haddrath O, Baker AJ, Piersma T, Reneerkens J (2011) Novel and cross-species microsatellite markers for parentage analysis in Sanderling Calidris alba. Journal of Ornithology 152: 807-810

Reneerkens J, Grond K, Schekkerman H, Tulp I, Piersma T (2011) Do uniparental sanderlings Calidris alba increase egg heat input to compensate for low nest attentiveness? PLoS ONE 6(2): e16834.

Reneerkens J, Benhoussa A, Boland H, Collier M, Grond K, Günther K, Hallgrimsson GT, Hansen J, Meissner W, de Meulenaer B, Ntiamoa-Baidu Y, Piersma T, Poot M, van Roomen M, Summers RW, Tomkovich PS, Underhill LG (2009) Sanderlings using African–Eurasian flyways: a review of current knowledge. Wader Study Group Bulletin 116: 2–20

Reneerkens J, Versteegh MA, Schneider AM, Piersma T, Burtt EH (2008) Seasonally changing preen-wax composition: Red Knots' (Calidris canutus) flexible defense against feather-degrading bacteria? Auk 125: 285-290

Rijpstra WIC, Reneerkens J, Piersma T, Sinninghe Damsté JS (2007) Structural identification of the beta-hydroxy fatty acid-based diester preen gland waxes of shorebirds. Journal of Natural Products 70: 1804-1807

Reneerkens J, Almeida JB, Lank DB, Jukema J, Lanctot RB, Morrison RIG, Rijpstra WIC, Schamel D, Schekkerman H, Sinninghe Damsté JS, Tomkovich PS, Tracy DM, Tulp I, Piersma T (2007) Parental role division predicts avian preen wax cycles. Ibis 149: 721-729 doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2007.00693.x

Reneerkens J, Piersma T, Sinninghe Damsté JS (2007) Expression of annual cycles in preen wax composition in red knots: Constraints on the changing phenotype. Journal of Experimental Zoology 307A: 127-139

Versteegh M, Reneerkens J, Piersma T (2006) Seasonal shifts in uropygial gland secretions in Red Knots: a flexible defense against feather-degrading bacteria? Journal of Ornithology 147: 36.

Reneerkens J, Piersma T, Sinninghe Damsté JS (2005) Switch to diester preen waxes may reduce avian nest predation by mammalian predators using olfactory cues. Journal of Experimental Biology 208: 4199-4202 doi: 10.1242/jeb.01872

Reneerkens J, Korsten P (2004) Plumage reflectance is not affected by preen wax composition in red knots Calidris canutus. Journal of Avian Biology 35: 405-409 DOI: 10.1111/j.0908-8857.2004.03317.x

Piersma T, Lindström A, Drent RH, Tulp I, Jukema J, Morrison RIG, Reneerkens J, Schekkerman H, Visser GH (2003) High daily energy expenditure of incubating shorebirds on High Arctic tundra: a circumpolar study. Functional Ecology 356-362 PDF

Krijgsveld KL, Reneerkens J, McNett GD, Ricklefs RE (2003) Time budgets and body temperatures of American golden plover chicks in relation to ambient temperature. Condor 105: 268-278 PDF DOI: 10.1650/0010

Reneerkens J, Piersma T, Sinninghe Damsté JS (2002) Sandpipers (Scolopacidae) switch from monoester to diester preen waxes during courtship and incubation, but why? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London series B-Biological Sciences 269: 2135-2139 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2002.2132

Reneerkens J, Piersma T, Ramenofsky M (2002) An experimental test of the relationship between temporal variability of feeding opportunities and baseline levels of corticosterone in a shorebird. Journal of Experimental Zoology 293: 81-88 DOI: 10.1002/jez.10113

Reneerkens J, Morrison RIG, Ramenofsky M, Piersma T, Wingfield JC (2002) Baseline and stress-induced levels of corticosterone during different life cycle substages in a shorebird on the High Arctic breeding grounds. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 75: 200-208 PDF  DOI: 10.1086/340853

Piersma T, Reneerkens J, Ramenofsky M (2000) Baseline corticosterone peaks in shorebirds with maximal energy stores for migration: A general preparatory mechanism for rapid behavioral and metabolic transitions? General and Comparative Endocrinology 120: 118-126 DOI: 10.1006/gcen.2000.7543


 Reneerkens J. Climate change effects on Wadden Sea birds along the East-Atlantic flyway. Report for Wadden Academy and Programme towards a Rich Wadden Sea, in press

Reneerkens J. BioNieuws, 20 June 2019. Geen bewijs voor meer eipredatie in Hoge Noorden (‘No evidence for more egg predation in the Arctic’)

Reneerkens J. 2018. Drieteenstrandloper. In: Vogelatlas van Nederland. Broedvogels, wintervogels en 40 jaar verandering. Sovon Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology pp. 276-277

Reneerkens J., 2018. Excessive spring snowfall results in a non-breeding year for shorebirds in NE Greenland

Reneerkens J., 2018. An update on the progress of the exceptionally snow-rich breeding season in northeast Greenland

Klaassen RG & Reneerkens J (2014). An overview of bird tracking studies in the Netherlands. Limosa 87:58-73

Reneerkens J. (2011). Supersnelle drieteen. Langeafstandstrekker en snelheidsduivel. Mens & Vogel 1:2-13.

Wijmenga JJ, Jukema J, Reneerkens J, Gombobaatar S, Gantulga B & Tserennadmid S (2011). The importance of North-Eastern Mongolia for migrating Pacific Golden Plovers. Report for Foundation Working Group International Waterbird & Wetland Research (WIWO). WIWO-report 87, 57 pp

Reneerkens J, Piersma T, Spaans B. (2005). De Waddenzee als kruispunt van vogeltrekwegen. Literatuurstudie naar de kansen en bedreigingen van wadvogels in internationaal perspectief. (‘The Wadden Sea as a hub for migratory birds. Literature study of the chances and threats of Wadden Sea birds in an international perspective’) NIOZ-report 2005-4, 125 pp

Reneerkens J. Kennislink ,2003. Kokkeloorlog. (‘Cockle wars’)

Reneerkens J. Kennislink, 2003. De functie van stuitklierwas bij vogels. (‘The function of preen wax in birds’)

Reneerkens J. Kennislink, 2002. Seksuele selectie door partnerkeuze: waarom zijn veel vogels felgekleurd?  (‘Sexual selection by partner choice: why are many birds conspicuously coloured?’)



 Total funding acquired: 4.0 m€ of which 690k€ k as the main applicant


NWO-ALW Netherlands Polar Programme policy-driven call 2019

(as part of consortium, co-responsible for 1 of 7 work packages) – under review


INTERACCESS grant – Fieldwork Greenland – 11.2 k€


Waddenacademie / Programme Rich Wadden Sea – 47.8 k€


NWO-ALW Open competition – PhD grant – 301 k€


Private donation – International Sanderling research – 2.5 k€


Academy Ecology Fund – Field research project Greenland – not granted


National Geographic Exploration Grant – not granted


INTERACCESS grant – Fieldwork Greenland – 4.5 k€


NWO-ALW New Netherlands Polar Program – Postdoc grant – 256 k€


Aarhus University – Guest researcher grant – 6 months appointment


Villum Foundation – Postdoc grant – not granted


INTERACCESS grant – Fieldwork Greenland – 6.8 k€


World Wildlife Fund – Fieldwork Greenland – 25 k€


Academy Ecology Fund – Field research project Greenland – not granted


Dobberke Stichting – Field research project Greenland – not granted


NWO-ALW New Netherlands Polar Program – Postdoc grant – not granted


INTERACCESS grant – Fieldwork Greenland – 10.2 k€


Wadden Fund – 4 postdocs, 1 PhD position (with T. Piersma) – 3 m€


INTERACCESS grant – Fieldwork Greenland – 10.1 k€


National Geographic Early career grant – not granted


NWO-International Polar Year – Postdoc grant (with T. Piersma) – 332 k€


Working Group International Waterbird and Wetland Research – Travel grant Mongolia – 1 month, 3 persons


NWO-Netherlands Arctic Program – Travel grant (with T. Piersma) – 15 k€


  • My publication in Journal of Animal Ecology (2019) was the subject of a 45 minutes podcast by Fledgling Theories, 6 February 2020
  • BNR radio – ‘Trekvogels die naar West-Afrika vliegen zijn het slechts af’, 29 oktober 2019
  • RTV Noord – ‘Maakt het voor trekvogels uit of ze 4000 of 20.000 kilometer vliegen?’, 29 October 2019
  • NRC Handelsblad – ‘Verder trekken loont niet altijd’, 19 September 2019
  • Trouw – ‘Wat bepaalt de route van de vogeltrek?’, 15 June 2019
  • Vogelbalans 2019,Thema Afrikagangers – ‘Noordwijk of Namibië? De drieteenstrandloper kiest voor het leven’
  • Friesch Dagblad – ‘Meereizen met de drietenen’, 17 August 2019
  • ­– 'Schrikbarend' onderzoek over krimpende vogels door klimaatverandering, 5 December 2019
  • My publication in PLoS Biology (2019) was covered by a.o. Nature, New Scientist, Science News, Fox News, Scientific American and several Dutch national media (radio and newspapers). I was interviewed for Science News and the Dutch media
  • Expert opinion on a Science article for BioNieuws 19 November 2018
  • Scientific American – ‘Late snowpack signals a lost summer for Greenland’s shorebirds’, 13 July 2018
  • BNNVara Vroege Vogels radio – ‘Drietenen in het nauw’, 13 July 2018
  • Prominently featuring in a television documentary about the ecology of the Greenlandic tundra by ZDF/ARTE, (German/French national television), 2011
  • Volkskrant – ‘Honderd jaar vogels volgen’, 21 May 2011
  • Subject of a documentary about Sanderlings for “Vroege Vogels” (Dutch national television), 18 February 2010
  • A Dutch popular scientific book (336 pp) “A Greenlander in Africa. The amazing journey of sanderlings” (Publisher: Bert Bakker) about my research on Sanderlings was published (2010; 3 sold out editions) and available as e-book since 2012 (Fosfor Publishers)
  • – ‘Lichtgewicht vogeltje vliegt 6000 kilometer’, 14 October 2009
  • Trouw – ‘Strandloper vliegt 6000 kilometer non-stop’, 13 October 2009
  • Subject of a video weblog from Greenland (6 episodes) - Birdlife Netherlands
  • 1-6 times annually I orally present my scientific results to broad non-scientific audiences
  • VPRO – video weblog on my postdoc project during the International Polar Year (2007-2009)
Laatst gewijzigd:22 maart 2021 13:53

Contact information

Building 5172 Room 0540

Job title:
Building 5172 Room 0540
+31 6 8669 3574 (Mobile)