Dr Fiona McDuie


US Geological Survey, Moss Landing Marine Labs, CA, United States

I’m originally from Sydney, Australia and years spent years travelling and teaching diving afforded the opportunity to work in many areas of marine conservation, leading me to study marine biology and encouraging my subsequent passion for seabirds……

I achieved my PhD at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia with Dr Brad Congdon studying seabird ecology. I focused on movement, spatial and foraging ecology determining the trophic mechanisms which regulate the distribution, abundance and availability of prey to pelagic foraging seabirds. I examined foraging behaviour and movement patterns of these seabirds, their ecological interactions in the marine environment and characterising critical foraging resources in terms of oceanographic and environmental parameters. My primary study species were tropical breeding wedge-tailed shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus), masked and brown boobies (Sula dactylatra and leucogaster respectively) which have colonies on the Great Barrier Reef.Prior to that I received my honors which focused on the evolutionary ecology of the same species.

I have done a variety of field work with various researchers and many seabird species, primarily Procellariiformes such as Gould’s petrel, numerous species of storm petrels, diving petrels, shearwaters and larger petrels and blue penguins.

My primary areas of research interest are seabird conservation and marine and seabird ecology. I’m also interested in the conservation of other migratory marine vertebrate predators like whales, sharks and rays and the advantages and ability to employ such taxa as indicators of changes in the marine environment – with particular focus on threatening anthropogenic processes such as pollutants, fisheries interactions and climate-driven variation and how these affect breeding biology, foraging ecology, population dynamics and reproductive success.

I currently work on a large long-term waterfowl research project in the Suisun Marsh, California. I am co-chair of the conservation committee for WSU and serve as regional representative for the Australasian Seabird Group. I was previously chair of the Early Career Scientist Committee for WSC2 in Cape Town South Africa 26-31 October, 2015.