Steve Votier (ESI, UoE), 23 Nov. 2016:

11 years on a guano-covered rock in the middle of the sea: What seabirds can tell us about the marine environment

Long-term natural history studies have been responsible for many significant discoveries in science. Despite this, they can be viewed as old-fashioned and struggle for funding because of a perceived narrow focus. In 2006 I started studying gannets (a large white bird that spends most of its life at sea) on a small rock in the middle of the Celtic Sea. This work on Grassholm has somehow turned into what one might tentatively describe as a long-term study. In this talk I well discuss some of the highlights of our research on Grassholm, focussing primarily on tracking. We are seeking to learn where gannets go while at sea, why they go there and what the consequences are for different strategies. This work comes at a time when biodiversity faces unprecedented challenges, for this reason our work also has a strong applied element – I will also discuss this during the talk. I hope to convince you that such studies have an important a place in science.