Équipe Adaptation des VErtébrés marins aux Changements environnementaux (AVEC)
Département Écologie, Physiologie, Éthologie (DEPE)
Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien (IPHC)
UMR7178 CNRS/Université de Strasbourg
23, Rue du Loess – 67200 Strasbourg, France

Fieldwork in Alsace, focused on Bas-Rhin (67) and the northern part of Haut-Rhin (68)

Reinier van den Berg (PhD Candidate, IPHC-DEPE & Faunastats)
Celine Le Bohec (PhD co-director, IPHC-DEPE)
Anna Nesterova (PhD co-supervisor, Faunastats)

February 2022 – July 2022 (6 months)
Field period:
March 2022 – Early July 2022 (4.5 months)

Northern lapwing, camera trap, hatching, breeding, fieldwork, behaviour

The northern lapwing is a meadow bird that can be found breeding across Europe, and in
France north of the line Bordeaux – Lyon (Deceuninck 2001). Despite being found in so
many places and in significant numbers, the population of lapwings has been on a steady
decline both in Europe as well as in France (Birdlife International 2017, Deceuninck 2001),
with an estimated decline of 15% for breeding pairs in France between 2001 and 2019
(Fontaine et al. 2020). Reasons for this decline include predation, habitat loss, and
agricultural intensification (Leyrer et al., 2018).
While these factors remain important throughout the reproductive range of the species, the
degree to which each may affect breeding outcomes can vary between locations and over
time (Seymour 2003). Additionally, the type of threat may be different between locations as
well: Depending on habitat there can be different principal nest predators for ground-nesting
birds (Holopainen et al. 2021) and we might expect that nests in France may be vulnerable
to predation by wild boar (Darinot, 2014).
Increasingly, nest predation is assessed by placing cameras near active nests. This can
provide an accurate image of the principal nest predators in an area while being minimally
disruptive (Teunissen et al. 2008, Laidlaw et al. 2020).
As part of a larger project investigating northern lapwings in France, this project will follow
nests of breeding northern lapwings with nest cameras until after hatching, to investigate the
following questions:

– What is the hatching success for northern lapwings breeding in Alsace?
– Is predation the main driver of hatching success, or are different factors more
impactful in Alsace?
– Do chicks stay around the nest longer based on environmental conditions? (If time is

Student responsibilities:
The successful master student will be expected to perform varied tasks during the field
season, as well as (part of) the analysis of the data they collect. These tasks include:
Searching for breeding lapwing pairs at sites known to be attractive to breeding lapwings,
locating the nests of these pairs, placing and maintaining nest cameras at the nests,
documenting the direct environment of the nest, organizing and storing data collected by the
cameras. These responsibilities will be spread throughout the study area, and the student
will be driving her/himself between sites.
Analysing footage collected by the cameras to determine nest fate, analysing the footage for
the time of hatching and subsequent behaviour of chicks around the nest, statistical analysis
of the data obtained (both for the project and for the internship report).

Required Qualities:
Drivers’ License B (car)
Good organisational skills
Passion for ecology and/or animal behaviour

Desired qualities:
Spoken and written English,
Previous field experience
Previous experience with animal observation
Familiarity with R / Rstudio
Experience observing birds

Acquired Competences and Skills:
Fieldwork experience
Behavioural observations
Data analysis
Data management
Data cleaning

Standard stipend for a Msc internship of over 2 months in France (591,51€ / month)
Travel costs on the field reimbursed
Co-authorship may be involved for papers produced through the work performed during this
internship following scientific-ethical guidelines.

Application process:
Please send your CV and a letter of motivation to:
Reinier van den Berg (

BirdLife International. (2017). European birds of conservation concern: populations, trends and national responsibilities. Birds of Conservation Concern_Low.pdf
Darinot, F. (2014). Impact du sanglier (Sus scrofa) et de la corneille noire (Corvus corone) sur les prairies et l’avifaune
nicheuse de la Réserve naturelle nationale du Marais de Lavours (Ain). Bulletin Mensuel de La Société Linnéenne
de Lyon, 3(1), 260–270.
Deceuninck, B. (2001). Breeding waders in France: populations, trends and distributions: 1984-1996. Wader Study
Group Bull., 95, 45–50.
Fontaine B., Moussy C., Chiffard Carricaburu J., Dupuis J., C. E., & Schmaltz L., Lorrillière R., Loïs G., G. C. (2020).
Suivi des oiseaux communs en France 1989-2019 : 30 ans de suivis participatifs. MNHN- Centre d’Ecologie et
des Sciences de la Conservation, LPO BirdLife France – Service Connaissance, Ministère de la Transition
écologique et solidaire. 46 pp.
Holopainen, S., Väänänen, V. M., Vehkaoja, M., & Fox, A. D. (2021). Do alien predators pose a particular risk to duck
nests in Northern Europe? Results from an artificial nest experiment. Biological Invasions, 2.
Laidlaw, R. A., Gunnarsson, T. G., Méndez, V., Carneiro, C., Þórisson, B., Wentworth, A., Gill, J. A., & Alves, J. A.
(2020). Vegetation structure influences predation rates of early nests in subarctic breeding waders. Ibis.
Leyrer, J., Brown, D., Gerritsen, G., Hötker, H., & Ottvall, R. (2018). International Multi- species Action Plan for the
Conservation of Breeding Waders in Wet Grassland Habitats in Europe (2018-2028). Report of Action A13 under
the framework of Project LIFE EuroSAP (LIFE14 PRE/UK/002). NABU, RSPB, VBN and SOF. 1–75.
Seymour, A. S., Harris, S., Ralston, C., & White, P. C. L. (2003). Factors influencing the nesting success of Lapwings
Vanellus vanellus and behaviour of Red Fox Vulpes vulpes in Lapwing nesting sites. Bird Study, 50(1), 39–46.
Teunissen, W., Schekkerman, H., Willems, F., & Majoor, F. (2008). Identifying predators of eggs and chicks of Lapwing
Vanellus vanellus and Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa in the Netherlands and the importance of predation on
wader reproductive output. Ibis, 150(SUPPL.1), 74–85.

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