Rowen van Eeden

Rowen van Eeden
BSc (Hons), MSc (UCT)

John Day Building: 1.02
Tel: +27 (0)21 650 3292
Fax: +27 (0)21 650 3295


Rowen is a behavioural ecologist with a special interest on the use of miniaturized tags which relay or log information on animal movement, behaviour and environmental variables to understand where species go, the threats that they face and the interactions they have with their habitat. By decrypting the decisions animals make and by learning how they utilize their environment, Rowen’s work aims to inform on how to conserve species by mitigating negative interactions with humans or by conserving their habitats and food resources.

His Masters from the University of Cape Town focused on the foraging ecology of African Penguins in relation to fine scale ocean physical process. The work demonstrated how African Penguins make informed decisions when foraging in relation to temperature cues such as sea surface temperature and sub surface thermal fronts, to locate cool nutrient rich waters where prey abundance is presumed to be higher in response to increased primary production.

He is now working towards his Doctorate on Martial Eagle conservation in the Kruger National Park to understand the causative agents that are responsible for a steep decline in the population. The work assess habitat use and breeding success of martial eagles in Kruger and has a sharp focus on a tracking study of sub-adult dispersal and habitat use, which is currently poorly understood. Outside of protected areas martial eagles are prone to persecution by farmers who perceive the birds to be a threat to small livestock. One aim of the project is to determine if increased un-natural mortality of sub-adult martial eagles, which may disperse out of the park and into neighbouring farmlands where they are at risk of persecution, are the reason that populations within Kruger are declining, as recruitment back into the breeding population is likely to decrease as a result of these mortalities.

Follow Rowen's field work on the Martial Eagle project's Facebook page here.

Thesis (Submitted Dec 2017)

Understanding the decline of Martial Eagles Polemaetus bellocosus in the Kruger National Park, South Africa (Supervisor: Arjun Amar).

Peer-reviewed publications

Van Eeden, R., Whitfield, D.P., Botha, A., and Amar, A. 2017. Ranging behavior and habitat preferences of the Martial Eagle: implications for the conservation of a declining apex predator. PLoS ONE 12: e0173956.

Van Eeden, R.B., Reid, T., Ryan, P.G. and Pichegru, L. 2016. Fine-scale foraging cues for African Penguins in a highly variable marine environment. Marine Ecology Progress Series 543: 257-271 (Abstract published online December 2015; Published online 03 February 2016).

Pichegru, L., Ryan, P.G., van Eeden, R., Reid, T., Gremillet, D and Wanless, R. 2011. Industrial fishing, no-take zones and endangered penguins. Biological Conservation 156:117-125.

Kaplan, B.S., O’Riain, J.M., van Eeden, R. and King, A.J. 2011. A low-cost manipulation of food resources reduces spatial overlap between baboons (Papio ursinus) and human conflict. International Journal of Primatology 32:1397-1412.