Data analysis changes in the food web under water-level fluctuations

Data analysis changes in the food web under water-level fluctuations

Aquatic Ecology

Contact Person:

Droevendaalsesteeg 10
6708 PB Wageningen

Wetlands are one of the most productive systems of the world and often important stop-over sites for migratory bird species. Very characteristic of a wetland system are the boom and bust phases. During which high or low number of birds and bird species are found respectively. In natural systems the system returns to a boom phase after several dry years that lower the water level. This gives the opportunity for succession to start over and for pioneer species to establish. When the water level is rising again the system enters the boom phase. 


The Oostvaardersplassen is a wetland system in the Netherlands that also experiences these boom and bust phases. The managers of the area are currently lowering the water level to return the system to the boom phase. However, the mechanisms behind the shift between these phases are not well known and therefore a project is set up to quantify changes in food web relations during the water drawdown. For this project we are looking for a student that can analyse field data collected by the site managers and researchers to assess and quantify food web relations under low and high water levels. Therefore, it is useful to have experience with data analysis and preferably with R. 


If you are interested in this project, please contact Kerstin Bouma, PhD candidate at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology. 

  • Type of work: Data analysis
  • Level: MSc
  • Duration: 4-6 months (starting spring 2021)