Studentships and internships

Please contact one of the CRC Research Staff members for information:

In 2020 we currently have the following master projects available:

Mate choice and pair bonding in vultures: In the land of the blind the camera-system is king

As a response to the current biodiversity crisis, ex-situ breeding has been listed a valuable conservation tool by IUCN. Whereas expertise in housing and keeping species is growing, propagation remains challenging for some species. One of those species is the cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus). Several structural reorganizations have recently been made within the ex-situ breeding programme of this species aiming to optimize breeding success. Apart from the construction of dating aviaries, enabling free mate choice between juvenile birds, a specialized breeding centre has been developed in Planckendael Zoo, in which adult birds can be observed more closely during their reproductive period. Detailed observations of mate choice behaviours are key to predict pair compatibility, but are difficult to assess during the reproductive period. The use of cameras combined with state-of-the-art behaviour recognition tools might provide a solution, decreasing disturbance meanwhile opening up the opportunity to gather date on a 24/7 basis. 

Within this project IP-student and/or MP-students will be able to:

  1. Directly observe birds in the dating aviary in Planckendael Zoo and potentially in other zoos abroad  to evaluate pair bonding
  2. Test the use of camera systems to study pair compatibility in individual breeding aviaries, taking into account automated recognition of inter-pair behaviour as a final outcome.

Contact: philippe.helsen@kmda.org

How do adult chimpanzees and bonobos differ in levels of play? 

This requires zoo-based observations of bonobos in Planckendael and 1 additional zoo in the Netherlands  (MP)  

Need to be available for 8 consecutive weeks during summer 2020 and willing to travel abroad within Europe - no travel/housing funds available

Contact: nicky.staes@uantwerpen.be

What is the impact of a novel and larger enclosure in Planckendael on bonobo behaviour? 

This requires analysis of existing data (location and activity) of the bonobos in Planckendael (IP)  

Location and project time is flexible  

Contact: nicky.staes@uantwerpen.be

Why do chimpanzees wipe their noses? 

This requires video analyses of footage from sanctuary-housed (Zambia) and zoo-housed (Antwerp) chimpanzees  (IP)

Location and project time is flexible

Contact: nicky.staes@uantwerpen.be