Seabird Abstracts

Tim R. Birkhead

Species - Authors - Colonies - Keywords

Population biology of seabirds (from his University of Sheffield website)

"Together with Ben Hatchwell, I have maintained a long-term study population of individually marked guillemots Uria aalge on Skomer Island, Wales since 1972. The aim of the study, which until 2013 was funded by the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), is to understand the processes responsible for long term changes in the population. We monitor adult and immature survival, age at first breeding, reproductive success, timing of breeding, and the diet and feeding rate of guillemot chicks. The parameters we measure provide a comprehensive 'health check' for the guillemot population which is far more sensitive than simply counting numbers. Our main findings are that oiling incidents, even as far away as northern Spain, have a negative effect on the population, because guillemots winter over a wide area. We have also shown that climate change affects breeding success and the timing of breeding, and probably survival."

See: Votier et al. (2005) Ecology Letters, 8: 1157-1164, and Meade et al. (2012) J. Avian Biology, 43: 1-7.
More popular articles on the long term study of Skomer's guillemots can be found in Natur Cymru (2009) 30: 33-37 and (2014) 52: 10-15; Birdwatching Magazine (2012) 30-32; Times Higher Education (2012) 9 August 30-35.


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