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Environment and Sustainability Institute ESI 01.15
Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK
I am a PhD student working in the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute, under the supervision of Dr Richard Sherley, Dr Stephen Votier, Professor Dave Hodgson and Dr Alison Cotton. My research focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of dispersal and recruitment in juvenile and immature African penguins (Spheniscus demersus). As part of this project I am working in collaboration with the Bristol Zoological Society, and a number of partners in South Africa.
My previous research includes work to investigate the effects of experimental fishing closures on African penguin reproductive success and foraging behavior, using camera trap networks to record penguin foraging behavior remotely, and investigating the impacts of egg size on chick growth and survival. For the past four years I have also led volunteer research expeditions as part of a long-term project to monitor African penguins on Robben Island, South Africa.
My other experience includes working in a seabird rehabilitation centre where I hand-reared seabird chicks as part of the Chick Bolstering Project, and most recently working at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to co-ordinate EU Exit project work for food and drink policy.
2016 MSc by Research in Biological Sciences, University of Bristol
2013 BSc (Hons) (1st Class) Animal Science (Behaviour and Welfare), University of Plymouth
My broad research interests include understanding how extrinsic and intrinsic factors drive seabird behaviour and the subsequent impact on demographic parameters. Subsequently, how this knowledge can be used to inform effective conservation strategies. I am also interested in how technology can be utilized to improve our understanding of seabird behavior and demography, and reduce the impact of monitoring on the study population.
Sherley RB, Barham BJ, Barham PJ, Campbell KJ, Crawford RJM, Grigg J, Horswill C, McInnes A, Morris TL, Pichegru L, Steinfurth A, Weller F, Winker H and Votier SC. 2018. Bayesian inference reveals positive but subtle effects of experimental fishery closures on marine predator demographics. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286: 20172443.
Project Title: Causes and consequences of dispersal and recruitment in African penguins (Spheniscus demersus)
Dr Richard Sherley (University of Exeter)
Dr Stephen Votier (University of Exeter)
Professor Dave Hodgson (University of Exeter)
Dr Alison Cotton (Bristol Zoological Society)
Understanding the ecology of immature individuals is fundamental to the study of population demography. This is particularly important for long-lived species such as seabirds, as the immature age classes can constitute up to 50% of populations. However, to date, most research has focused on breeding individuals, and little is known about the behaviour of individuals before they breed. Understanding immature ecology has been identified as a global priority for seabirds and other marine vertebrates. This is particularly true for the endangered African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), whose population has decreased by over by ~80% in 15 years within South Africa’s Western Cape. The aim of this project is to understand dispersal and recruitment in immature African penguins, to inform the development of conservation strategies for this declining species and to begin to answer the important questions regarding immature ecology in seabirds more generally.
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