Wisdom starts with wonder
Through my research, I aim to gain a better understanding of how individual differences in behaviour shape, and are shaped by, group and population-level patterns. I primarily focus on spatial and social patterns, which are often inherently linked to each other, for example, communication and proximity networks, but also fission-fusion social dynamics and migration strategies. Next to gaining a deeper understanding of animal behaviour, I am also passionate about taking a broader perspective by exploring links between animal behaviour research and other fields and disciplines, such as wildlife conservation and moral philosophy.
Summary of research interests and experience
My main research interest lies in unravelling the group- and population-level consequences of behavioural heterogeneity. During my first MSc thesis at Wageningen University & Research (Netherlands), I investigated parental care differences between migrating and non-migrating barnacle geese, Branta leucopsis, for which I was granted the Alfred Russel Wallace Award by the Resource Ecology Group in 2009. During my second MSc thesis at The Simon Fraser University (Canada) in the winter of 2010/2011, I studied whether anthropogenic structures and activities affect the spatial distribution of dabbling ducks. I have a special interest in how individuals differ in how they weigh the risk and benefits of particular situations, especially social situations. Early 2012, I started my PhD under the supervision of Prof Marc Naguib and Prof Kees van Oers at Wageningen University & Research and the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), during which I used a novel tracking system and a self-designed video-playback experiment to study the effects of personality (e.g. exploration behaviour) on proximity and communication networks in great tits, Parus major. Following my PhD (defended cum laude in 2016), I was granted a three-month WIAS Postdoc Fellowship to develop, write and profitably apply for postdoc fellowship proposals.
In 2017, I continued studying social network dynamics, this time in Trinidadian guppies, Poecilia reticulata, working together with Prof Jens Krause at the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology & Inland Fisheries (IGB-Berlin, Germany), supported by an IGB-Postdoc Fellowship. During this time, I also became part of an international team of behavioural ecologists in which we conduct systematic maps and reviews on the effects of anthropogenic threats on animal behaviour or the effectiveness of animal behaviour-based conservation interventions. In 2018, I started studying the potential link between exploration behaviour and migration in (partially) migratory bats, Nyctalus noctula and Pipistrellus nathusii, hosted by Dr Christian Voigt at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW, Germany) and supported by an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoc Fellowship. I, however, also continued my guppy research at the IGB, supported by a Klaus-Tschira Boost Fund grant. In 2020, I returned to Wageningen University & Research to continue to explore the social foraging dynamics of wild guppies, supported by an NWO-Veni Postdoc Fellowship. For my early-career research, I had the honour to be awarded the 2020 Niko Tinbergen Award by the Ethologische Gesellschaft.
Online research profiles
- 2020-Current – NWO-Veni Postdoc Fellow Behavioural Ecology Group; Wageningen University & Research & Guest Researcher at Leibniz IGB-Berlin.
- 2018-2020 – Alexander von Humboldt Postdoc Fellow Evolutionary Ecology Department; Leibniz IZW-Berlin & Klaus-Tschira Boost Fellow at Leibniz IGB-Berlin.
- 2017-2018 – IGB Postdoc Fellow Biology and Ecology of Fishes Department; Leibniz IGB-Berlin
- 2016-2017 – Post-doc Behavioural Ecology Group; Animal Sciences Department; Wageningen University & Guest Researcher at the Animal Ecology Department; Netherlands Institute of Ecology.
- 2012-2016 – PhD student Behavioural Ecology Group; Animal Sciences Department; Wageningen University & Guest Researcher at the Animal Ecology Department; Netherlands Institute for Ecology.
- 2009-2010 – Student assistant, Environmental Systems Analyses Group; Wageningen University.
- 2012-2016 – PhD Degree with distinction (cum laude): awarded to the top 3%
- 2009-2011 – Master Biology with distinction (cum laude): awarded when all courses are graded with an 8 or higher on average and the MSc Thesis graded with a 9, Wageningen University
- 2005-2009 – Bachelor Biology, Utrecht University (2007: Minor Management and Organization)
- 1999-2005 – Pre-University Education (Gymnasium)
Defence date: 29-04-2016; cum laude: awarded to the top 3%
Supervisors: Prof. Marc Naguib (promotor) and Dr Kees van Oers (co-promotor)
- 2010-2011 – Differences in anti-predator behaviour between day and night for dabbling ducks in the Fraser Delta B.C. Canada. Centre for Wildlife Ecology of Simon Frasier University, Canada.
- 2009 – Behavioural features of a migratory Barnacle goose population (Branta leucopsis). Resource Ecology Group, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands.
Awards and fellowships
- Niko Tinbergen Award (2020: “The Ethologische Gesellschaft awards the Niko Tinbergen Award every other year to outstanding post-doc level researchers in behavioural biology”)
- NWO-Veni (2019: 36 months full salary + research allowance; Start: 01.01.2020)
- Klaus-Tschira Boost Fund (2019: funds for student assistants, material and fieldwork expenses)
- Humboldt Postdoc Fellowship (2017: 24 months stipend + research allowance; Start: 01.06.2018).
- IGB Postdoc Fellowship (2017: 12 months stipend + research allowance)
- Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology Travel Grant (2017)
- WIAS Postdoc Fellowship (2016: three months full salary)
- ISBE Travel Award (2016)
- Cum laude (top 3%) Wageningen University PhD Thesis (2016)
- Wageningen University Call for Innovation (2016: co-applicant; four months full salary)
- WIAS Graduate School PhD fellowship (2014: international lab visit travel allowance)
- ASAB Travel Grant (2014)
- Runner up Ethologische Gesellschaft Poster Prize at the Meeting in Bielefeld (2013)
- Alfred Russel Wallace Award Best MSc thesis Wildlife Ecology & Conservation Group (2009)
- Lecturer and co-organiser Behavioural Ecology, Freie Universität Berlin (2019)
- Invited lecturer Conservation Behaviour in the course Human-Wildlife Conflicts, Freie Universität Berlin (2019)
- Instructor Academic Writing Workshops, Leibniz-IZW (2018-2019)
- Supervisor at Wageningen University & Research, Humboldt University Berlin, Freie Universität: >10 MSc thesis students (2012-Current)
- Coordinator: (online) teaching innovation Wageningen University & Research: Animal Behaviour Bachelor Course (2016)
- Online lecturer: Introduction to Animal Behaviour, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Edx.org (2016)
- Teaching assistant at Wageningen University & Research: Ecology of Animal Life Histories (2012, 2014), Behavioural Ecology (2012, 2013, 2015), Animal Behaviour (2015, 2016), Life History Evolution (2016)
- Workshop instructor: NVG Animal Personality PhD Masterclass (2015)
International symposia, workshops and conferences
- Oikos Sweden: Invited keynote – Uppsala, Sweden (2019): “Insights from social animals: uncovering the causes and consequences of a good social life”
- 13th Forum on the Internationalization of Sciences and Humanities: invited oral presentation – Berlin, Germany (2019)
- Compassionate Conservation & Coexistence Summit: invited oral presentation – Yellowstone, USA (2019)
- Wildlife Research and Conservation: invited oral presentation– Berlin, Germany (2019)
- Biomove training group: invited seminar talk – Potsdam, Germany (2019)
- ZSL Symposium: Linking behaviour to populations and communities: how can behavioural ecology inform conservation; poster presentation – London, UK (2018)
- Göttinger Freiland Tage: Social complexity; oral presentation – Göttingen, Germany (2017)
- Systematic Review for Conservation Workshop; participant – Negev, Israel (2017)
- Behaviour; three oral presentations – New castle, UK; Cairns, Australia; Estoril, Portugal (2013, 2015, 2017)
- ISBE; two oral presentations – New York, USA & Exeter, UK (2014, 2016)
- Behaviour, Physiology and Genetics of Wildlife; oral presentation – Berlin, Germany (2015)
- Meeting of the Ethologische Gesellschaft; poster presentation and oral presentation – Bielefeld & Hamburg, Germany (2013, 2015)
- ASAB Winter meeting; poster presentation – London, UK (2013, 2014)
Manuscripts: Advances in the Study of Behavior, Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Behavioral Ecology, Behaviour, Current Zoology, Ethology, Ibis, Journal of Animal Ecology, Journal of Avian Biology, Journal of Ornithology, Methods in Ecology & Evolution, Oikos, PLoS ONE, Primates, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Royal Society Open Science & Scientific Reports, Trends in Ecology & Evolution. For a recent overview see my Publons page.
Grants applications: Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences (WIAS) Graduate School; The Leakey Foundation; Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz; FWF Austrian Science Fund.
Seminar organisation and working group activities
- Organising member 9th international Conference of Poeciliid Biologists (Current-2021)
- Organising member of the workshop Communication Strategies for Women in Academia (Current)
- Reviewer for abstract submissions to the International Conference for Conservation Biology (2019)
- Associated member of the BioMove Research Training Group (2018-2019)
- Organising member of the 2019 IZW ‘Symposium Human-Wildlife relationships: coming from two sides’ (2018-2019)
- Member and Twitter coordinator of ‘Animal Behaviour in Conservation’ working group of the International Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) (2018-Current)
- Member ‘Commissie Vleermuisvangen’ Dutch organisation that reviews applications for catching bats in the Netherlands (2018-Current)
- Member Future For Nature Academy (2016-Current)
- Member of the IGB Postdoc society (2017)
- Member of the IGB Open Access Fund working group (2017)
- Reviewer for submissions of oral presentations to the international WAFL conference (2017)
- Organising member of the Wageningen Evolution and Ecology Seminars. I have hosted seminars and masterclasses for internationally renowned behavioural scientists. (2012-2016)
- Member of a PhD selection committee at NIOO-KNAW (2013-2014)
- Coordinator of the Behavioural Ecology Journal Club (2013)
Other international activities
- Postdoc research – Berlin (2017-2019): > 2 years
- Collection of field data – Pape, Latvia (2019): 2 weeks
- Collection of field data – Trinidad (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020): 5 x 3 weeks
- Visiting scientist – University of Wyoming, Wyoming, USA (2015): 5 weeks
- Laboratory visits – University of Colorado, USA (2015); IZW, Germany (2015)
- Visiting scientist – IGB, Berlin, Germany (2012-2016): 3 months cumulative
- Bird banding, Wild Research – B.C., Canada (2011): spanning approx. 3 months during MSc thesis
- Master thesis – Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada (2010-2011): 6 months
- Coordinator – Nature Education Project, Palawan, Philippines (2010): 3 months
- Coordinator, nature education project, Centre for Sustainability – Palawan, the Philippines (2010): 3 months
- Collection of field data – Saaremaa, Estonia (2009): 2 weeks
Speaking for and interacting with the general public at Dutch Bird Fair, Leibniz-Kolleg Science Slam, Open days NIOO, Open days WUR, SoapBox Science; Twents Carmelcollege de Thij; Wereld Haven Dagen Rotterdam; Weblog writing: Beleef de Lente Vogelbescherming NL (2012-2017), NIOO-KNAW ‘Dr Ecologie’ (2015-2016), ‘Exploring Conservation Conflicts’ (2019-Current), personal website: http://www.lysannesnijders.com (2017-Current). Popular science writing and (radio) interviews (e.g. British Ornithological Union, Resource, Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen, Vroege Vogels). Popular science vlogging: NIOO-KNAW ‘Dokter Ecologie’, TracesDreams; Popular science news editor: Nature Today International (2017-2018); Online teaching (MOOC); Twitter (2009-Current).