Stefan Vriend

Dr. Stefan Vriend

Project Manager | Researcher
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Visiting Address

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

+31 (0) 317 47 34 00

The Netherlands



Quantitative population ecologist and coding enthusiast working for LTER-LIFE and SPI-Birds. Tackling data-related challenges with a daily dose of atmospheric music, coffee and an ornamental pair of socks.


I am the LTER-LIFE Coordinator Veluwe and data manager/developer at the SPI-Birds Network and Database

LTER-LIFE is a large-scale research infrastructure and consortium of scientific, educational, and societal partners in the Netherlands. We will build an e-infrastructure to facilitate the development of digital twins of entire ecosystems. Integrating long-term data on species and their environment, expert knowledge, and a wide ray of modelling tools in a virtual catalogue, scientists will be able to use our infrastructure to study how changes in climate and other human-induced pressures affect ecosystems and biodiversity. LTER-LIFE will initially focus on two ecosystems, the Wadden Sea and the Veluwe. As the Coordinator Veluwe, I facilitate collaboration with the user community and the project partners, guide the development of scientific use cases that, and develop trainings, workshops and courses on data and model FAIRification and using the LTER-LIFE infrastructure to build digital twins. 

SPI-Birds is a network of researchers working on populations of breeding, individually marked birds with the aim to improve data accessibility and transparency, and to facilitate collaboration. As part of SPI-Birds, we are building open and robust pipelines for different research groups that output their individual-based breeding bird data in a community-defined standard format. 

Besides my work in LTER-LIFE and SPI-Birds, I am involved in various projects that focus on how eco-evolutionary processes vary across space, time and species (mostly hole-nesting passerines). One of these projects involves a common garden experiment, which we started in the spring of 2023. Here, we ask the question: to what extent are population differences in fitness-related traits due to varying characteristics of the different nest boxes that researchers use at their study sites rather than differences in their environments?

My career started as a PhD researcher at the Centre for Biodiversity Dynamics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway. I worked on the project 'Evolution in a Changing Climate' (EVOCLIM), which was inspired by the ability of individuals and populations to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Using a unique set of long-term studies on European hole-nesting passerines, I explored the roles of density dependence, through competition within and between species, and environmental fluctuations in affecting and linking ecological and evolutionary processes.

Research groups

Projects & collaborations


  • SPI-Birds Network and Database

    Project 2019
    SPI-Birds Network and Database ( is a centralized and community-driven initiative that connects researchers working on wild bird populations in which individuals are uniquely marked and recognized. SPI-Birds makes research groups and their datasets visible, provides systematic data archiving, ensures data quality and integrity, and facilitates data sharing and comparative, cross-dataset analyses. For this purpose, we have developed a data standard and series of data quality checks agreed upon by the community, which adhere to the FAIR principles.
    Blue tit on a tree branch, getting ready to fly.

Additional Projects



LTER-LIFE ( is a large-scale research infrastructure in the making. It will provide a state-of-the-art e-infrastructure to build digital twins, which scientists can use to study and predict how changes in climate and other human-induced pressures affect ecosystems and biodiversity.


SPI-Birds: Studies of Populations of Individuals - Birds


SPI-Birds ( is a network of researchers working on populations of breeding, individually marked birds that came together to create a community-defined, standardized method for formatting data and for describing the attributes of studied populations. In addition, this initiative aims to make long-term data of individually marked birds more accessible and improve the exchange of data, research ideas and practices. More info: