Renée Veenstra

I am a PhD student working with Theunis Piersma in the Conservation Ecology Group at the University of Groningen. My PhD is part of the ‘Godwit-Landscape Project’, where I’m studying the main food resource of the black-tailed godwit: earthworms.

Growing up in Groningen and Fryslân, I’ve always loved hearing the sound of godwits or lapwings around me whenever I would cycle out of town. This affection only increased when I started studying ecology at the University of Groningen, where gaining knowledge and enthusiasm about birds is almost inevitable. After finishing my master’s degree, I gained some work experience in Switzerland. Here, I first worked at a research institute studying biodiversity effects of macrofauna (such as earthworms) on ecosystem functioning. Following this, I joined a governmental project on lapwing protection.

Returning home, I can now combine my two main fields of interest – macrofauna and meadow birds – to study black-tailed godwits in South-West Fryslân. During my PhD, I will focus on the interaction between godwits, their food resources, and the landscape. Hopefully, we will gain a better understanding of the foraging ecology of black-tailed godwits during their breeding season and learn how to improve the availability of food resources.