BRANTA — Orea Anderson
Foraging strategies and ecotoxicology in Southern Ocean seabird communities
Institution: Queen’s University, Belfast, UK
Supervisors: S Bearhop, R McDonald
Details: PhD 2008 (Expected)
Address: School of Biology & Biochemistry, Queen’s University, University Road, Belfast BT7 1NN Email
The project will investigate the impacts of dietary specialisation, intra- and inter-specifically, on subsequent pollutant burdens of individuals, (particularly in relation to the bird population of South Georgia). The study will focus on the use of stable isotope ratios to identify trophic positioning between species. Stable isotope analysis will identify both predator and prey isotopic signatures and an indication of trophic positioning between albatross and petrel species will hopefully be built up. This has important implications for conservation, in terms of looking at the connection between certain types of foraging strategies and mortality rates from long-line fishing etc. The pollutant work will focus on heavy metals, such as mercury and cadmium, as well as organochlorines and PCBs. It is hoped to connect differences in pollutant burdens to particular foraging strategies of individuals. The project also aims to investigate prey-switching, (and the subsequent consequences to pollutant burdens), from a good krill year, when krill are readily available, to a bad one where individuals/species are forced to turn to alternative prey to meet energy requirements.