Rascha Nuijten



From an early age I have been fascinated by nature, and never missed an opportunity to learn more about it. While studying biology and during several projects abroad I also started to realise that nature is very much under pressure. And often by our own actions! With this understanding, there grew a passion in me to try and do something about that. I contribute in two ways: by directing the Future For Nature foundation, and by doing scientific research developing technological solutions for nature conservation. The latter fascinated me while I was studying Bewick’s swans for my PhD research using 3D printed GPS-collars with an integrated accelerometer. The knowledge we collected remotely by means of these collars is now used for practical recommendations for site management and species protection.


I am particularly interested in the combination of technology and nature conservation. During my PhD research I was fascinated by the amount of data and resulting knowledge that was collected remotely by use of cleverly designed 3D printed GPS collars. I think that in this age of rapid technological developments on the one side, and drastic declines in biodiversity on the other side, it is time to join the two together to benefit wildlife and people.


My current research focuses on the development of a poacher detection system based on GPS tracking of abundant ungulates in protected areas. Based on machine learning models, deviations from the normal behaviour of these ungulates that could indicate the presence of an intruder, can be detected. My main focus is to look at group level responses of these ungulates, and differential responses to predators and humans (poachers).

2020 – current: Director Future For Nature Foundation

2015-2020: PhD Bewick’s swan population dynamics, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Wageningen

2014-2015: Junior Researcher, Accumulation of persistent pollutants in the Arctic food chain, Radboud University Nijmegen

2011-2013: MSc Degree Environmental biology, Utrecht University

2008-2011: BSc Degree (Honours), Biology, Utrecht University

Nuijten, R.J.M., Wood, K.A., Haitjema, T., Rees, E.C., Nolet, B.A. 2020. Concurrent shifts in wintering distribution and phenology in migratory swans: individual and generational effects. Global Change Biology 26 (8), pp 4263-4275. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15151

Eikelboom, J.A.J., Nuijten, R.J.M., Wang, Y.X.G., Schroder, B., Heitkönig, I.M.A., Mooij, W.M., van Langevelde, F., Prins, H.H.T. 2020. Global Ecology and Conservation 23, pp e01145. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2020.e01145

Nuijten, R.J.M., Vriend, S.J.G., Wood, K.A., Haitjema, T., Rees, E.C., Jongejans, E., Nolet, B.A. 2020. Apparent breeding success drives long-term population dynamics of a migratory swan. Journal of Avian Biology 51 (11). https://doi.org/10.1111/jav.02574

Nuijten, R.J.M., Gerrits, T., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Nolet, B.A. 2020. Less is more: On-board lossy compression of accelerometer data increases biologging capacity. Journal of Animal Ecology 89 (1), pp 237-247. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13164

Nuijten, R.J.M., Prins, E.F., Lammers, J., Mager, C., Nolet, B.A. 2020. Calibrating tri-axial accelerometers for remote behavioural observations in Bewick’s swans. Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research 8 (4), pp 231-238.

Mooij, W.M., van Wijk, D., Beusen, A.H.W., Brederveld, R.J., Chang, M., et al. 2019. Modeling water quality in the Anthropocene: directions for the next-generation aquatic ecosystem models. Current opinion in Environmental Sustainability 36, pp 85-95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2018.10.012

Wood, K.A., Nuijten, R.J.M., Newth, J.L., Haitjema, T., Vangeluwe, D., Ioannidis, P., Harrison, A.L., Mackenzie, C., Hilton, G.M., Nolet, B.A., Rees, E.C. 2018. Apparent survival of an Arctic-breeding migratory bird over 44 years of fluctuating population size. Ibis 160 (2), pp 413-430. https://doi.org/10.1111/ibi.12521

Harvey, J.A., van den Berg, D., Ellers, J., Kampen, R., Crowther, T.W., Roessingh, P., Verheggen, B., Nuijten, R.J.M.,Post, E., Lewandowsky, S.,Stirling, I., Balgopal, M., Amstrup, S.C., Mann, M.E. 2017. Internet blogs, polar bears, and climate-change denial by proxy. BioScience 68 (4), pp 281-287. https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/bix133

Nuijten, R.J.M., Hendriks, A.J., Jenssen, B.M., Schipper, A.M. 2016. Circumpolar contaminant concentrations in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and potential population-level effects. Environmental Research 151, pp 50-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2016.07.021

Nuijten, R.J.M., Bosse, M., Crooijmans, R.P.M.A., Madsen, O., Schaftenaar, W., Ryder, O.A., Groenen, M.A.M., Megens, H-J. 2016. The use of genomics in conservation management of the endangered Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons). International Journal of Genomics https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/5613862

Nuijten, R.J.M., Kölzsch, A., van Gils, J.A., Hoye, B.J., Oosterbeek, K. de Vries, P.P., Klaassen, M., Nolet, B.A. 2014. The exception to the rule: retreating ice front makes Bewick’s swans Cygnus columbianus bewickii migrate slower in spring than in autumn. Journal of Avian Biology 45 (2), pp 113-122. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-048X.2013.00287.x


Rascha picture