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Prof. dr. ir. W. (Willem) Bouten

Professor of Computational Geo-Ecology
Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics
Fotograaf: UvA

  • Science Park 904
  • Kamernummer: C4.162
  • Postbus 94240
    1090 GE Amsterdam
  • Profile

    My research philosophy:

    No measuring without modelling and also no modelling without measuring’. Throughout my career this has been the basic philosophy of my research, which focuses on patterns and processes at the earth surface, where abiotic and biotic components of the landscape interact at various temporal and spatial scales. How can we combine measurements and models to trace the lengthy chains of cause-and-effect relations in complex systems? What are relevant phenomena and what concepts do we need to model the spatial and temporal dynamics of these phenomena? How can we parameterise and validate our models? How can different model perspectives contribute to the increase of our insights? It is my ambition to merge theoretical ecology and field based descriptive ecology and to contribute to the development of predictive ecology.

    My mission:

    It is my mission to promote and facilitate big-data and computationally intensive ecological research, what we call “e-Ecology” (technology enhanced ecology), not only for our own group but also in an (inter-) national context. Together with NLeSC and SURFsara we therefore build virtual laboratories to facilitate remote collaboration and use of research infrastructures for data acquisition, storage, visualization, exploration and analysis.

    Education statement:

    I am concerned about the future of our planet and I am not the only one. As involvement starts with education, I initiated a new educational program "Future Planet Studies", an interdisciplinary program in which developments in the coming 50 years are discussed from perspectives of demography, economics, and quality of life in the context of the earth's resources. In a world that generates ever more knowledge and where knowledge is ever more accessible, we train students to find and aggregate new knowledge and to develop their own views and not so much to reproduce knowledge. From 2006 to 2014, I was initiator, developer and director of the UvA BSc program Future Planet Studies. This program has grown from 45 students in the cohort of 2007 to almost 200 students in 2014. In 2017, I initiated the master track Future Planet Ecosystem Science, which I have coordinated until my retirement in September 2021.

    My projects:

    Currently I am still involved in the following projects:

    UvA Bird tracking System with supporting e-science infrastructure Predicting bird migration to reduce aerial conflicts: the FlySafe Bird Avoidance Model and Bird Avoidance System to reduce the impact of migratory birds on military aviation and the migration prediction project to help mitigate the impact of offshore wind turbines on migratory birds. EcoEvoClim: ecological and evolutionary consequences of predator-prey mismatch due to environmental variations associated with climate change The POLDER center of the Institute for Advanced Study Coupled Human and Natural Systems : Future of Energy Also visit the website of IBED Also visit the website of IAS
  • Personal background

    PhD in Environmental Science, University of Amsterdam, 1992: Monitoring and modelling forest hydrological processes in support of acidification research.

    In the late eighties and early nineties, a huge research programme on acidification research was carried out by about 80 research institutes and university groups in the Netherlands. The research concentrated mainly on two Douglas fir forests with different vitality (Aciforn-project). Within this projectI co-operated with several others to assess the hydrological fluxes and states in these two forests. My main task was to monitor and model rainfall interception and throughfall dynamics, temporal and spatial patterns of soil water content and root water uptake, and transpiration dynamics. I very much enjoyed the development of a new technique to measure canopy water storage amounts. Two hoists, with a microwave transmitter and receiver, went up and down along two towers (everyfive minutes, 300 times a day and 100.000 times in a year), while measuring vertical profiles of microwave attenuation caused by intercepted water. Measurements and simulations showed that the canopy water storage was above the threshold value of 0.3 mm of water storage for 40% of the total time, thus enabling the co-deposition of ammonium sulphate (Bouten et al, 1991, Bouten & Bosveld, 1991, Bouten et al, 1996, Vrugt et al, 2003)

    MSc in Soil Chemistry and Soil Physics, Wageningen University, 1981

    My MSc thesis was about remote sensing of surface roughness and top soil moisture of bare tilled soil with x-band radar. A scatterometer was mounted in a mast on a lorry that was moved along test sites with different soil roughness and water content. This enabled me to measure from different incidence angles and various polarizations (Janse and Bouten, 1980; Koolen et al., 1979) During my masters I also did minors in mathematics and theoretical production ecology where I worked on the development of algorithms to improve the calculation speed of a numerical crop micrometeorological modelby Goudriaan (1977)


  • Research interests

    Research interests

    Bird Tracking System
    One of my main topics is currently the monitoring of bird behavior in the context of movement ecology.  Together with Edwin Baaij of the Technology Center of our faculty, w e have designed, tested, produced and deployed a bird tracking system for studying the behaviour of free-ranging birds without the need to recapture them. The GPS tracker weighs only 12 grams and includes a GPS receiver, tri-axial accelerometer, microprocessor, 4MB memory for data storage, solar panel and battery. To maximize flexibility, it is equipped with a radio transceiver for bi-directional communication with a ground-based antenna network permitting not only the downloading of data but also the uploading of new measurement schemes remotely. The GPS system also comprisesa spatial database and web services for post-processing, visualizing and querying the data. More information can be found on www.UvA-BiTS.nl

    Bayesian Inverse Modelling
    Another main topic of interest is the use of Bayesian inverse modelling for improving theories of geo-ecological processes. The development of knowledge in Natural Sciences is an iterative process in which scientists confront their theories with observations. "Concept formulation (modeling) - experimental design - experiments and observations - data analyses" form the Iterative Research Cycle (IRC) that furthers the knowledge and the perception of natural systems. Inverse modeling, based on Bayesian statistics, is used to confront our theoretical concepts (models) with reality (observations) to identify errors in the model structure, model inputs or model parameters while taking uncertainties into account. I an especially intere sted to find out how inverse modelling techniques can inspire us to improve our theories of spatially explicit dynamic models.

    Virtual Laboratories
    A third topic which has my specific interest is the development of virtual laboratories to promote scientific collaboration. VLs are advanced interactive problem solving environments for (multi-disciplinary) user groups that facilitate (i) data access, either by communication links to sensors or through portals to a data base, (ii) data integrity and quality control, (iii) data post-processing, (iv) data storage and backup, (v) data merging, (vi) data sharing, (vii) interactive data visualization and exploration, (viii) data mining and annotation, and (ix) data analyses, model building and model improvement. It is our mission to promote and facilitate data and computationally intensive ecological research, what we call "e-Ecology".

  • Publicaties





    • Dokter, A. M., Fokkema, W., Bekker, S. K., Bouten, W., Ebbinge, B. S., Müskens, G., ... Nolet, B. A. (2018). Body stores persist as fitness correlate in a long-distance migrant released from food constraints. Behavioral Ecology, 29(5), 1157-1166. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ary080 [details]
    • Khosravifard, S., Venus, V., Skidmore, A. K., Bouten, W., Muñoz, A. R., & Toxopeus, A. G. (2018). Identification of Griffon Vulture's Flight Types Using High-Resolution Tracking Data. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH, 12(3), 313-325. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41742-018-0093-z [details]
    • Lameris, T. K., van der Jeugd, H. P., Eichhorn, G., Dokter, A. M., Bouten, W., Boom, M. P., ... Nolet, B. A. (2018). Arctic Geese Tune Migration to a Warming Climate but Still Suffer from a Phenological Mismatch. Current Biology, 28(15), 2467-2473. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.05.077 [details]
    • Massoud, E. C., Huisman, J., Benincà, E., Dietze, M. C., Bouten, W., & Vrugt, J. A. (2018). Probing the limits of predictability: data assimilation of chaotic dynamics in complex food webs. Ecology Letters, 21(1), 93-103. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12876 [details]
    • Murgatroyd, M., Photopoulou, T., Underhill, L. G., Bouten, W., & Amar, A. (2018). Where eagles soar: Fine-resolution tracking reveals the spatiotemporal use of differential soaring modes in a large raptor. Ecology and Evolution, 8(13), 6788-6799. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4189 [details]
    • Senner, N. R., Stager, M., Verhoeven, M. A., Cheviron, Z. A., Piersma, T., & Bouten, W. (2018). High-altitude shorebird migration in the absence of topographical barriers: avoiding high air temperatures and searching for profitable winds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 285(1881), [20180569]. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2018.0569 [details]
    • Thaxter, C. B., Ross-Smith, V. H., Bouten, W., Masden, E. A., Clark, N. A., Conway, G. J., ... Burton, N. H. K. (2018). Dodging the blades: new insights into three-dimensional space use of offshore wind farms by lesser black-backed gulls Larus fuscus. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 587, 247-253. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps12415 [details]
    • van Overveld, T., García-Alfonso, M., Dingemanse, N. J., Bouten, W., Gangoso, L., de la Riva, M., ... Donázar, J. A. (2018). Food predictability and social status drive individual resource specializations in a territorial vulture. Scientific Reports, 8, [15155]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-33564-y [details]



    • Harel, R., Duriez, O., Spiegel, O., Fluhr, J., Horvitz, N., Getz, W. M., ... Nathan, R. (2016). Decision-making by a soaring bird: time, energy and risk considerations at different spatio-temporal scales. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, 371(1704), [20150397]. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0397 [details]
    • Kamps, M., Seijmonsbergen, A. C., & Bouten, W. (2016). Object-based Integrated Landscape Change Analysis: synergy of multi-temporal LiDAR and very high resolution orthophotos. In N. Kerle, M. Gerke, & S. Lefevre (Eds.), GEOBIA 2016 : Solutions and synergies: 14 September 2016-16 September 2016, University of Twente, Faculty of Geo-Information and Earth Observation (ITC) : proceedings University of Twente. https://doi.org/10.3990/2.397 [details]
    • McLaren, J. D., Shamoun, J., Camphuysen, C. J., & Bouten, W. (2016). Directed flight and optimal airspeeds: homeward-bound gulls react flexibly to wind yet fly slower than predicted. Journal of Avian Biology, 47(4), 476-490. https://doi.org/10.1111/jav.00828 [details]
    • Murgatroyd, M., Underhill, L. G., Bouten, W., & Amar, A. (2016). Ranging Behaviour of Verreaux’s Eagles during the Pre-Breeding Period Determined through the Use of High Temporal Resolution Tracking. PLoS ONE, 11(10), [e0163378]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0163378 [details]
    • Navarro, J., Grémillet, D., Afán, I., Ramírez, F., Bouten, W., & Forero, M. G. (2016). Feathered Detectives: Real-Time GPS Tracking of Scavenging Gulls Pinpoints Illegal Waste Dumping. PLoS ONE, 11(7), [e0159974]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159974 [details]
    • Orchan, Y., Ovaskainen, O., Bouten, W., & Nathan, R. (2016). Novel Insights into the Map Stage of True Navigation in Nonmigratory Wild Birds (Stone Curlews, Burhinus oedicnemus). American Naturalist, 187(6), E152-E165. https://doi.org/10.1086/686054 [details]
    • Rakhimberdiev, E., Senner, N. R., Verhoeven, M. A., Winkler, D. W., Bouten, W., & Piersma, T. (2016). Comparing inferences of solar geolocation data against high-precision GPS data: annual movements of a double-tagged black-tailed godwit. Journal of Avian Biology, 47(4), 589-596. https://doi.org/10.1111/jav.00891 [details]
    • Schlaich, A. E., Klaassen, R. H. G., Bouten, W., Bretagnolle, V., Koks, B. J., Villers, A., & Both, C. (2016). How individual Montagu's Harriers cope with Moreau's Paradox during the Sahelian winter. Journal of Animal Ecology, 85(6), 1491-1501. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12583 [details]
    • Shamoun-Baranes, J., Bouten, W., van Loon, E. E., Meijer, C., & Camphuysen, C. J. (2016). Flap or soar? How a flight generalist responds to its aerial environment. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, 371(1704), [20150395]. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0395 [details]
    • Stienen, E. W. M., Desmet, P., Aelterman, B., Courtens, W., Feys, S., Vanermen, N., ... Lens, L. (2016). GPS tracking data of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls breeding at the southern North Sea coast. ZooKeys, 555, 115-124. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.555.6173 [details]
    • Tonneijck, F. H., Velthuis, M., Bouten, W., van Loon, E. E., Sevink, J., & Verstraten, J. M. (2016). The effect of change in soil volume on organic matter distribution in a volcanic ash soil. European Journal of Soil Science, 67(2), 226-236. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejss.12329 [details]
    • Treep, J., Bohrer, G., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Duriez, O., Prata de Moraes Frasson, R., & Bouten, W. (2016). Using high resolution GPS tracking data of bird flight for meteorological observations. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 97(6), 951-961. https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-14-00234.1 [details]
    • Viana, D. S., Gangoso, L., Bouten, W., & Figuerola, J. (2016). Overseas seed dispersal by migratory birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 283(1822), [20152406]. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.2406 [details]





    • Camphuysen, C. J., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Bouten, W., & Garthe, S. (2012). Identifying ecologically important marine areas for seabirds using behavioural information in combination with distribution patterns. Biological Conservation, 156(Nov-Dec), 22-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2011.12.024 [details]
    • Kemp, M. U., Shamoun-Baranes, J., van Loon, E. E., McLaren, J. D., Dokter, A. M., & Bouten, W. (2012). Quantifying flow-assistance and implications for movement research. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 308, 56-67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2012.05.026 [details]
    • Kemp, M. U., van Loon, E. E., Shamoun-Baranes, J., & Bouten, W. (2012). RNCEP: global weather and climate data at your fingertips. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 3, 65-70. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2041-210X.2011.00138.x [details]
    • McLaren, J. D., Shamoun-Baranes, J., & Bouten, W. (2012). Wind selectivity and partial compensation for wind drift among nocturnally migrating passerines. Behavioral Ecology, 23(5), 1089-1101. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ars078 [details]
    • Shamoun-Baranes, J., Bom, R., van Loon, E. E., Ens, B. J., Oosterbeek, K., & Bouten, W. (2012). From sensor data to animal behaviour: an oystercatcher example. PLoS ONE, 7(5), e37997. [e37997]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0037997 [details]
    • Tanha, J., van Someren, M., de Bakker, M., Bouten, W., Shamoun-Baranes, J., & Afsarmanesh, H. (2012). Multiclass semi-supervised learning for animal behavior recognition from accelerometer data. In 24th IEEE International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence (pp. 690-697). Athens: IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/ICTAI.2012.98 [details]
    • Veen, L. E., van Reenen, G. B. A., Sluiter, F. P., van Loon, E. E., & Bouten, W. (2012). A semantically integrated, user-friendly data model for species observation data. Ecological Informatics, 8, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoinf.2011.11.002 [details]


    • Anders, N. S., Seijmonsbergen, A. C., & Bouten, W. (2011). Segmentation optimization and stratified object-based analysis for semi-automated geomorphological mapping. Remote Sensing of the Environment, 115(12), 2976-2985. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2011.05.007 [details]
    • Anders, N., Smith, M., Seijmonsbergen, H., & Bouten, W. (2011). Optimizing object-based image analysis for semi-automated geomorphological mapping. In T. Hengl, I. S. Evans, J. P. Wilson, & M. Gould (Eds.), Proceedings of Geomorphometry 2011 (pp. 117-120) [details]
    • Shamoun-Baranes, J., Bouten, W., Camphuysen, C. J., & Baaij, E. (2011). Riding the tide: intriguing observations of gulls resting at sea during breeding. Ibis, 153(2), 411-415. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-919X.2010.01096.x [details]
    • Shamoun-Baranes, J., Dokter, A. M., van Gasteren, H., van Loon, E. E., van Leijnse, H., & Bouten, W. (2011). Birds flee en mass from New Year's Eve fireworks. Behavioral Ecology, 22(6), 1173-1177. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arr102 [details]
    • van Loon, E. E., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Bouten, W., & Davis, S. L. (2011). Understanding soaring bird migration through interactions and decisions at the individual level. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 270(1), 112-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2010.10.038 [details]


    • Camphuysen, C. J., de Boer, P., Bouten, W., Gronert, A., & Shamoun-Baranes, J. (2010). Mammalian prey in Laridae: increased predation pressure on mammal populations expected. Lutra, 53(1), 5-20. [details]
    • Kemp, M. U., Shamoun-Baranes, J., van Gasteren, H., Bouten, W., & van Loon, E. E. (2010). Can wind help explain seasonal differences in avian migration speed? Journal of Avian Biology, 41(6), 672-677. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-048X.2010.05053.x [details]
    • Shamoun-Baranes, J., Bouten, W., & van Loon, E. E. (2010). Integrating meteorology into research on migration. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 50(3), 280-292. https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/icq011 [details]


    • Anders, N. S., Seijmonsbergen, A. C., & Bouten, W. (2009). Modelling channel incision and alpine hillslope development using laser altimetry data. Geomorphology, 113(1-2), 35-46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2009.03.022 [details]
    • Anders, N. S., Seijmonsbergen, A. C., & Bouten, W. (2009). Multi-scale and object-oriented image analysis of high-res LiDAR data for geomorphological mapping in alpine mountains. In R. Purves, S. Gruber, T. Hengl, & R. Straumann (Eds.), Proceedings of Geomorphometry 2009 (pp. 61-65). Zürich: University of Zurich. [details]


    • Hengl, T., van Loon, E. E., Shamoun-Baranes, J., & Bouten, W. (2008). Geostatistical analysis of GPS trajectory data: Space-time densities. In J. Zhang, & M. F. Goodchild (Eds.), Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium on Spatial Accuracy Assessment in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences: Shanghai, China, June 25-27, 2008: Volume 1: Spatial uncertainty (pp. 17-24). Liverpool: World Academic Press. [details]
    • Hengl, T., van Loon, E., Sierdsema, H., & Bouten, W. (2008). Advancing spatio-temporal analysis of ecological data: Examples in R. In O. Gervasi, B. Murgante, A. Laganà, D. Taniar, Y. Mun, & M. L. Gavrilova (Eds.), Computational Science and Its Applications – ICCSA 2008: International Conference, Perugia, Italy, June 30 – July 3, 2008 : proceedings (Vol. I, pp. 692-707). (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Vol. 5072). Berlin: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-69839-5_51 [details]
    • Holleman, I., van Gasteren, H., & Bouten, W. (2008). Quality assessment of weather radar wind profiles during bird migration. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 25(12), 2188-2198. https://doi.org/10.1175/2008JTECHA1067.1 [details]
    • Shamoun-Baranes, J., Bouten, W., Buurma, L., DeFusco, R., Dekker, A., Sierdsema, H., ... van Loon, E. (2008). Avian information systems: Developing web-based bird avoidance models. Ecology and Society, 13(2), 38. [details]
    • van Gasteren, H., Holleman, I., Bouten, W., van Loon, E., & Shamoun-Baranes, J. (2008). Extracting bird migration information from C-band Doppler weather radars. Ibis, 150(4), 674-686. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-919X.2008.00832.x [details]






    • Senner, N. R., Stager, M., Verhoeven, M. A., Bouten, W., Cheviron, Z. A., & Piersma, T. (2016). Flying high with no barrier in sight: Extreme high altitude migration in Black-tailed Godwits. Integrative and Comparative Biology, 56(1, Supplement), e199. [65-8]. https://doi.org/10.1093/icb/icw002 [details]


    • Seijmonsbergen, A. C., Anders, N. S., Gabriner, R., & Bouten, W. (2014). On the transferability of rule sets for mapping cirques using Object-based feature extraction. South‐Eastern European Journal of Earth Observation and Geomatics, 3/2S, 131-134. [details]


    • Seijmonsbergen, A. C., Anders, N. S., & Bouten, W. (2012). Geomorphological change detection using object-based feature extraction from multi-temporal LIDAR data. In R. Q. Feitosa, G. A. O. P. da Costa, C. M. de Almeida, L. M. G. Fonseca, & H. J. H. Kux (Eds.), International Conference on Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis, 4 (GEOBIA): Rio de Janeiro - RJ, May 7-9, 2012: proceedings (pp. 484-489). São José dos Campos: National Institute for Space Research (INPE). [details]


    • Ordóñez, A., van Loon, E., & Bouten, W. (2011). Effects of population variability on the accuracy of detection probability estimates. Anales de Biología, 33, 149-160. [details]


    • Ginati, A., Coppola, A. D., Garofalo, G., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Bouten, W., van Gasteren, H., ... Sorbi, S. (2010). FlySafe: an early warning system to reduce risk of bird strikes. European Space Agency bulletin, (144), 46-55. [details]




    • Bouten, W., Baaij, E., Treep, J., & Majoor, F. (2009). Vlieggedrag in beeld: vogels met GPS-rugzakje. GIS-magazine, 7(6), 26-27. [details]


    • Dekker, A., van Gasteren, H., Bouten, W., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Borst, A., Holleman, I., ... Garofalo, G. (2008). The European Space Agency´s FlySafe project, looking at the bird strike problem from another perspective. In Proceedings of the 28th meeting of the International Bird Strike Committee (pp. 1-16). International Bird Strike Committee (IBSC). [details]


    • Kamps, M., Seijmonsbergen, A. C., & Bouten, W. (2016). Assessment of the interaction of land-cover change on shallow landslide occurrence: an automated object-based approach: “Land-cover change could contribute to enhanced shallow landslide susceptibility”. Poster session presented at GEOBIA 2016, Enschede, Netherlands.
    • Kamps, M., Seijmonsbergen, A. C., & Bouten, W. (2016). Object-based Integrated Landscape Change Analysis: Synergy of multi-temporal LiDAR and very high resolution orthophotos: “Synergy of high resolution multi-temporal orthophotos and LiDAR datasets improves change analysis accuracy’’. Poster session presented at GEOBIA 2016, Enschede, Netherlands.


    • Kranstauber, B., Bouten, W., Leijnse, H., Wijers, B. C., Verlinden, L., Shamoun-Baranes, J. & Dokter, A. (12-2-2020). Image sequence of bird migration Netherlands and Belgium (2016-10-3). Universiteit van Amsterdam. https://doi.org/10.21942/uva.11365169.v2
    • Kranstauber, B., Bouten, W., Leijnse, H., Wijers, B. C., Verlinden, L., Shamoun-Baranes, J. & Dokter, A. (12-2-2020). Image sequence of bird migration Netherlands, Germany and Belgium (2017-10-18). Universiteit van Amsterdam. https://doi.org/10.21942/uva.11365295.v2
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
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