Gail Robertson

University of Glasgow United Kingdom

I am studying the foraging behaviour of surface-feeding seabirds as part of a PhD project at the University of Glasgow (supervisors Prof Pat Monaghan and Dr Mark Bolton (RSPB)).

North Sea populations of surface-feeding seabirds have declined in recent years due to reductions in food availability. Small species with short foraging ranges and limited diving abilities are especially vulnerable to declines in important prey species. Protecting seabird foraging areas at sea will help conserve important feeding areas and encourage population recovery. I am examining how foraging areas used by terns and kittiwakes change over the course of the breeding season and how this affects the designation of protected areas at sea. Field work was carried out on Coquet Island, Northumberland in 2011 and 2012. I used dietry observations combined with GPS and visual tracking data to examine how the foraging behaviour of surface-feeding seabirds changes over time.