Why birds go bump in the dark: a sensory ecology approach to understanding and addressing gillnet bycatch

Theme: Biodiversity & Ecology

Primary Supervisor:

Steve Portugal

Biological Sciences, RHUL

Secondary Supervisor:

Alex Bond

Conservation Science, RSPB

Project Description:

Every year, millions of waterbirds die through drowning as a result of being caught in gill nets.
The aim of this project is to (a) describe the sensory ecology and visual field characteristics of waterbirds that have demonstrated a propensity for getting caught as bycatch in gillnets, (b) undertake dive tanks experiments to determine dive behaviour, (c) determine the visual acuity of key species, to ascertain their visual capabilities over distance and (e) provide practical suggestions and solutions to the problem, based on findings (e.g., net panel designs).
This project will work in collaboration with Prof Graham Martin (University of Birmingham).

Policy Impact of Research:

This work will aim to influence how gillnets are designed and used, to reduce the number of waterbirds that drowned as by-catch.

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