Stud.IP Uni Oldenburg
University of Oldenburg
23.01.2022 17:49:50

Personal details

Title Climate change effects in the migratory behaviour of common terns
Climate change effects in the migratory behaviour of common terns: is departure date becoming later over years?

Description: The project is open for application from students interested in pursuing either a Master’s or a Bachelor’s degree in the field of biology and ornithology. Starting date and working location is flexible. No prior experience with research on climate change or birds is needed. Some experience working with statistics and R would be useful, but it is not mandatory. The student will be working in a highly dynamic and international team, and should be comfortable using English as the main working language. Interested students are invited to get in contact with Dr Maria Moiron ( and PD Dr Sandra Bouwhuis (


Background and objectives: Migration is an essential part of the life cycle of a wide range of species, including birds. Departure decisions from/to wintering grounds in birds may depend on favourable climatic conditions and food resources, and be underlined by a genetic component. The project will make use of 30 years of individual-based data from a pedigreed population of common terns (Sterna hirundo) located in Wilhelmshaven (Germany) to investigate the evolutionary ecology of departure timing. Specifically, the project will aim at investigating three main questions:

1) To explore the variability in departure decisions from the Wadden sea to the coast of West Africa.

2) To quantify the relationship between the timing of arrival at the colony in spring and the departure in late summer.

3) To test whether departure timing in late summer is under selection and has a genetic component.

Overall, the project will provide a unique opportunity to gain experience working with long-term datasets of a natural populations, acquire strong analytical skills, and get familiar with up-to-data research on the effects of climate change in birds. 

Home institution Institute for Biology and Environmental Sciences
Type of work practical / application-focused
Type of thesis Bachelor's or Master's degree
Author Dr. Maria Moiron
Status available
Problem statement
Created 01/12/21

Study data

Departments No departments assigned
Degree programmes
  • Master's Programme Marine Environmental Sciences
  • Master's Programme Landscape Ecology
  • Master's Programme Biology
  • Master's Programme Biology
Assigned courses No courses assigned
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