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Drivers of ocean movement patterns in Round Island petrels (GILLJU18BOU)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof J Gill
    Dr S Butler
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Seabirds undertake incredible journeys across the ocean, and our understanding of their movements is being transformed by advances in technology. For some populations, sufficient individual have been tracked to allow us to explore the ecological processes involved in these large-scale movements, and the consequences for impacts of human activities such as fishing, pollution and climate change that are transforming the marine environment.

Round Island petrels have been the subject of a study by the Zoological Society of London in collaboration with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and National Parks and Conservation Service (Government of Mauritius) since 2009. These petrels breed at a single colony (Round Island), 23 km off Mauritius, and ZSL studies have shown that this is a three-way hybrid complex consisting of one species from the Atlantic (P. arminjoniana) and at least two from the Pacific (P. heraldica & P. neglecta).

The migratory routes of over 200 individual Round Island petrels have been tracked with geolocators, and this BOU-funded studentship, supervised by researchers at UEA and ZSL, will use these data to explore the factors influencing the extraordinary levels of individual variation in ocean movements of these birds and the implications for the demography and conservation of the species.

For more information on the primary supervisor for this project, please go here:
Type of programme: PhD
Start date of project: October 2018
Mode of study: Full time
Acceptable first degree: BSc in Ecological, Biological or Environmental Sciences
The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Funding Notes

This PhD studentship is funded by The British Ornithologists’ Union. Funding is available to applicants from Commonwealth countries only, and comprises tuition fees and project costs for 3 years, and an annual stipend (starting at £14,990 in Year 1) for 3.5 years (42 months).


i) Booth Jones, K.A., Nicoll, M.A., Raisin, C., Dawson, D.A., Hipperson, H., Horsburgh, G.J., Groombridge, J.J., Ismar, S.M., Sweet, P., Jones, C.G. and Tatayah, V. (2017) Widespread gene flow between oceans in a pelagic seabird species complex. Molecular Ecology DOI: 10.1111/mec.14330
ii) Nicoll, M.A., Nevoux, M., Jones, C.G., Ratcliffe, N., Ruhomaun, K., Tatayah, V. and Norris, K., 2017. Contrasting effects of tropical cyclones on the annual survival of a pelagic seabird in the Indian Ocean. Global Change Biology, 23, 550-565.
iii) Alves, J.A., Gunnarsson, T.G., Hayhow, D.B., Potts, P.M., Sutherland, W.J. & Gill, J.A. (2013) Costs, benefits and fitness consequences of different migratory strategies. Ecology, 94, 11-17.
iv) Gill, J.A., Alves, J.A., Sutherland, W.J., Appleton, G.F., Potts, P.M. & Gunnarsson, T.G. (2014) Why is timing of bird migration advancing when individuals are not? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 281, 20132161
v) Gunnarsson, T.G., Gill, J.A., Newton, J., Potts, P.M. & Sutherland, W.J. (2005) Seasonal matching of habitat quality and fitness in migratory birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 272, 2319-2323.

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