Nolet Group

Nolet Group

Animal Ecology

Foraging and Movement Ecology

Scaling up from processes at the individual level to patterns at the population level.


We try to understand patterns at the population level from foraging and movement processes acting at the individual level. We use optimality principles, which are founded in foraging theory and migration theory, to model animal migration and site use. The approach taken is a combination of field work, experiments and modelling. Our main study species are herbivorous birds (geese and swans), that migrate between the arctic tundra and the temperate region, and of which a large proportion of the flyway population winters in the Netherlands (Bewick’s swan, barnacle goose, dark-bellied brent goose, pink-footed goose, white-fronted goose).

Climate change is expected to be prominent in the Arctic and at the same time land-use changes are continuing in the temperate region; we study how these birds are responding to these changes. The idea behind using optimality principles is that these will still be valid under new conditions, so we might be able to predict future population distribution and abundance from these principles. In that sense we are developing tools that can be used in environmental impact assessments and adaptive management.

Current projects

ArcticMigrants Arctic migratory birds pushed over the edge?

GooseScare Indirect effects of goose disturbance

ArcticPinkfeet Response of geese to climate warming in the Arctic

GooseHeart  A new style of life in a traditionally Arctic migratory bird

GooseModel Towards sustainable management of geese in Europe

AtlanticSwans From individual movement to population distribution

Former projects

ArcticSwans Unravelling the annual cycle of an Arctic migrant in search of its decline

ArcticBarnies How can Arctic-nesting geese cope with Arctic amplification?

E-Track EGNOS and EDAS enhanced tracking of animal movement and behaviour. This project will develop GPS animal tracking and analysis tools for sophisticated behavioural research on wild and domestic animals 

Metawad 1. work package Brent Goose This project investigates the importance of non-breeding habitats, for brent goose population dynamics and individual fitness

MIGRAPOP Adaptive management of migratory populations by developing novel tools at the interface between ecology, economy, agriculture and society

Towards adaptive management of white-fronted geese wintering in the Netherlands Incorporation of a behaviour-based migration model into a population dynamical model in order to evaluate management options, which reduce conflicts with farmers whilst safeguarding the population