Universiteit Leiden

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Veni grant for Biologist Wouter Halfwerk

Wouter Halfwerk (IBL) received a Veni grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research for his research project on the influence of man-made noise on foraging birds.

Animals are bothered by sounds induced by human activities, but the extent to which it influences them remains largely unknown. The study of noise impact on animals has been an important area of funadamental and applied research at Leiden University for a number of years now.


Wouter Halfwerk received his PhD-degree at the IBL in 2012 on the effects of traffic noise on male advertisement song, female mate preferences and reproductive success in the great tit (Parus major). In parallel to the work in air, noise impact studies at Leiden University have also addressed potential issues for aquatic animals such as marine mammals and fish.

As part of Wouter Halfwerk’s new project, great tits will be tested experimentally while looking for prey to find out how noise disrupts their ability to process visual and spatial information. Through this study, he will gain a better understanding of how species can adapt and what we can do to protect them from noise pollution.

In the last few years, Wouter Halfwerk conducted successful studies on frogs and bats as a post-doc at the Smithsonian Institute in Panama and he has now been appointed on a tenure-track position at the Free University (VU) in Amsterdam. 

A Veni grant is a type of individual funding aimed at promoting scientific talent and providing researchers with an important step in their scientific career. They use the Veni allowance mainly for salary costs during a three-year research period. The Veni is part of the NWO’s Innovational Research Incentives Scheme; Veni, Vidi and Vici, geared to the various career phases of scientists.


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