The Society for Conservation Biology Kingston Chapter and the Department of Biology at Queen’s have invited Dr. Bill Montevecchi to come to Kingston this week for two talks (Thursday 7pm; Friday 11am; abstracts below).
Bill Montevecchi is a Professor in the Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology Program at Memorial University in Newfoundland. He is internationally renowned for his long-term, interdisciplinary research on behavioural ecology of marine and terrestrial birds.
“The Long Reach of The Deepwater Horizon Disaster”
Thursday March 8th, 7pm, Biosciences Complex room 1102
Research on the movement ecology of marine birds provides robust biological means with which to assess environmental risks and the consequences of anthropogenic disasters.
In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon, a deep water rig, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 workers and creating the largest oil pollution event in North American history with unknown environmental damages. Northern gannets from eastern Canadian colonies suffered the third highest oil-related mortality, following resident laughing gulls and brown pelicans. It appears that most of the gannets killed were sub-adults - the major implication being that we are unlikely to detect a population effect. This is virtually always the case following environmental disasters and other human-induced mortality sources. What are the implications for environmental responsibility and litigation?
As is the case in the Gulf of Mexico, regulation at offshore hydrocarbon installations in eastern Canadian waters are inadequate to ensure environmental protection. Tracking seabirds is highlighting important marine areas, many of which are at risk to oil developments on the Grand Bank. Some revealing examples will be presented, and some options about attempting to reclaim the ocean from corporate control will be discussed.
“Tracking Atlantic Seabirds: Foraging, Migration, Habitat Use and Population Interactions”
Friday March 9th, 11am, Biosciences Complex room 3110
The miniaturization of bird-borne behavior-logging and tracking devices have revolutionized studies of free-ranging individuals and their responses to environmental conditions. Inter- and intra-colony and species comparisons reveal flexible foraging behavior to different prey fields as well as persistent parental tactics to predictable prey aggregations by gannets and murres. Studies of their migratory behavior show consistent inter-annual spatial and temporal movement patterns by individuals and differences in winter habitat use with varying degrees of ecological segregation among colonies and between congeneric murre species. Trans-Atlantic migration of a subset of Northern Gannets from Newfoundland colonies suggest associations with eastern Atlantic populations. Tracking studies are also highlighting anthropogenic risks and ocean hotspots which have been heretofore impossible to document with banding and vessel surveys.