MacArthur Green

Glasgow, United Kingdom

MacArthur Green

Glasgow, United Kingdom

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Calladine J.,University of Stirling | Humphreys E.M.,University of Stirling | Gilbert L.,James Hutton Institute | Furness R.W.,MacArthur Green | And 6 more authors.
Biological Invasions | Year: 2017

Non-native predators can cause major declines or even localised extinctions in prey populations across the globe, especially on islands. The removal of non-native predators can, therefore, be a crucial conservation management tool but there can be challenges when they are viewed as charismatic in their own right. Four decades after their introduction to islands in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland, European hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus continue to be an important nest predator for a declining population of breeding waders. Where hedgehogs were rare, clutch survival rates (assessed using nest temperature loggers) of five species of waders (dunlin Calidris alpina, lapwing Vanellus vanellus, redshank Tringa totanus, snipe Gallinago gallinago and ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula) were higher than where hedgehogs were relatively more abundant. Hedgehogs were the most frequent nest predator identified using cameras. However, factors influencing population sizes of breeding waders are complex and unlikely to be attributable to a single species of predator. The interactions between predation, land use, habitat and the changes in each deserve further attention. © 2017 Springer International Publishing Switzerland


Furness R.W.,MacArthur Green | Garthe S.,University of Kiel
Biological Conservation | Year: 2016

The extent to which seabirds are displaced from, or attracted to, offshore wind farms (OWFs) is uncertain, but rapid development of OWFs in European waters could conflict with seabird conservation. We review post-construction studies of seabirds at 20 OWFs in European waters to extract and classify evidence for displacement or attraction of 33 different seabird species. Divers and northern gannets showed consistent and strong avoidance behaviour/displacement, and this may also be the case for great crested grebe and northern fulmar. Long-tailed duck, common scoter, Manx shearwater, razorbill, common guillemot, little gull and sandwich tern showed less consistent displacement from OWFs. Several gull species and red-breasted merganser showed weak attraction, while great cormorant and European shag showed strong attraction to OWFs. Other species show little response. Displacement seems mainly to be due to bird responses to OWF structures and appears stronger when turbines are rotating, but could in part be due to boat traffic to and from OWFs. Attraction of cormorants relates at least in part to their use of structures for roosting and for drying plumage, but increases in food availability at OWFs appears to be an important influence for several species. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd


Garthe S.,University of Kiel | Hallgrimsson G.T.,University of Iceland | Hallgrimsson G.T.,Southwest Iceland Nature Research Center | Montevecchi W.A.,Memorial University of Newfoundland | And 3 more authors.
Marine Biology | Year: 2016

Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) are distributed in eastern and western North Atlantic breeding populations. The species’ colonies in Iceland lie between the European and North American colonies. To better understand their migratory patterns and to explore potential connections between the western and eastern populations, geo-location devices were used to track the migrations of Northern Gannets from Iceland. Findings support ringing records in demonstrating a primarily south-eastward movement following the breeding season, with no tracked birds wintering in western Atlantic waters. Fifteen successfully tracked adult birds wintered over a range of about 5000 km on continental shelf seas from NW Scotland to NW Africa with areas of concentration off Africa and in the Celtic Sea. Direct distance from the colony to the most distant point reached ranged from 1200 to 6100 km. Trips amounted to 16,100–33,500 km over the entire migration/winter period. While birds heading for NW Africa mostly showed a relatively straight migration direction, several round trips were recorded in (N)W Europe. Migration trips and over-winter colony absence lasted between 126 and 189 days. Birds departed from the colony from 9 to 24 September and returned from 19 January to 27 March. Timing and duration of migration and wintering periods varied substantially among individuals. Gannets staying in the waters of NW Africa experienced much higher sea surface temperatures than birds wintering further north, suggesting higher thermostatic costs for the latter. © 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Hammer S.,University of Glasgow | Nager R.G.,University of Glasgow | Johnson P.C.D.,University of Glasgow | Furness R.W.,MacArthur Green | Provencher J.F.,Carleton University
Marine Pollution Bulletin | Year: 2015

Plastic is a common item in marine environments. Studies assessing seabird ingestion of plastics have focused on species that ingest plastics mistaken for prey items. Few studies have examined a scavenger and predatory species that are likely to ingest plastics indirectly through their prey items, such as the great skua (Stercorarius skua). We examined 1034 regurgitated pellets from a great skua colony in the Faroe Islands for plastics and found approximately 6% contained plastics. Pellets containing remains of Northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) had the highest prevalence of plastic. Our findings support previous work showing that Northern fulmars have higher loads of plastics than other sympatric species. This study demonstrates that marine plastic debris is transferred from surface feeding seabird species to predatory great skuas. Examination of plastic ingestion in species that do not ingest plastics directly can provide insights into how plastic particles transfer vertically within the food web. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | Carleton University, MacArthur Green and University of Glasgow
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Marine pollution bulletin | Year: 2016

Plastic is a common item in marine environments. Studies assessing seabird ingestion of plastics have focused on species that ingest plastics mistaken for prey items. Few studies have examined a scavenger and predatory species that are likely to ingest plastics indirectly through their prey items, such as the great skua (Stercorarius skua). We examined 1034 regurgitated pellets from a great skua colony in the Faroe Islands for plastics and found approximately 6% contained plastics. Pellets containing remains of Northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) had the highest prevalence of plastic. Our findings support previous work showing that Northern fulmars have higher loads of plastics than other sympatric species. This study demonstrates that marine plastic debris is transferred from surface feeding seabird species to predatory great skuas. Examination of plastic ingestion in species that do not ingest plastics directly can provide insights into how plastic particles transfer vertically within the food web.


Furness R.W.,MacArthur Green | Wanless S.,UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology
Ringing and Migration | Year: 2014

Given the conservation importance of Gannet populations in Britain, and concerns about possible adverse impacts of offshore wind farms on Gannets as a result of collision risk, we advocate the establishment of strategic monitoring studies at key colonies. Colour ringing adult Gannets to measure survival at colonies close to and distant from offshore wind farms could indicate whether or not collision mortality has a detectable effect on adult survival. Colour ringing chicks could provide information on prospecting movements of immatures and colonies where birds recruit. Tracking studies of both adults and immatures would be highly desirable to complement improved monitoring of demography. © 2015 British Trust for Ornithology.


Large-scale and long-term ringing and cohort colour ringing of chicks, combined with trapping of immatures on clubs and adults on nests, allows the age of first breeding by Great Skuas Stercorarius skua to be investigated. Modal and median age of first breeding of Great Skuas at their largest colony (Foula, Shetland) was seven years, but there was considerable individual variation. Birds may first breed when four to >11 years old. Compared with the situation in Foula, Great Skuas start breeding at a younger age at smaller colonies. When conditions at Foula deteriorated, resulting in reduced adult survival, reduced breeding success and population decline, age of first breeding increased. These patterns imply a density-dependent age of first breeding, but with individual variation because higher-quality birds recruit at a younger age than birds in poor body condition. Density-dependent variation in age at first breeding may have an important influence on population growth rate, and this would merit study also in other species of seabirds through a dedicated ringing and colour-ringing programme. © 2015 British Trust for Ornithology.


Wade H.M.,University of the Highlands and Islands | Wade H.M.,Marine Scotland - Marine Laboratory | Masden E.A.,University of the Highlands and Islands | Jackson A.C.,Lane College | Furness R.W.,MacArthur Green
Marine Policy | Year: 2016

The effects of marine renewable energy developments (MREDs) on seabirds are uncertain because of the relative infancy of the industry. This uncertainty can delay the consenting process as regulators adopt a precautionary approach. This study uses novel methods to demonstrate uncertainty in two indices that ranked the vulnerability of seabird populations to MREDs. The study also consolidates recently available data with information from the two indices to consider developments in our understanding of how seabirds respond to MREDs and to present up-to-date vulnerability predictions. Results indicate greater uncertainty in data regarding displacement caused by vessels and/or helicopters, and use of tidal races by seabirds, than in data regarding the percentage of flight overlapping with wind turbine blades and the level of displacement caused by structures. Results also indicate varying uncertainty among species. Overall vulnerability rankings remained broadly the same, with some minor changes. The uncertainty indices highlight areas lacking data, identify robust predictions, and indicate where particular caution in interpreting vulnerability indices should be adopted. They are a useful tool to inform impact assessment and identify strategic research and monitoring priorities. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


PubMed | Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center, MacArthur Green, University of Glasgow and Environment Agency
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology | Year: 2016

To monitor environmental pollutants in Faroese biota, samples from a top predator were analysed and put into a spatial and temporal context. Analysis of 20 Great Skua eggs sampled in 2012 from the Faroe Islands showed >70% lower concentrations of legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) than in samples analysed in 1977. The 2012 Faroese eggs showed higher concentrations than for eggs in Shetland from about the same period (2008). Eggshells were analysed for sub-lethal effects but there were no detectable effects of legacy POP levels on eggshell colour or thickness. A temporal decline in legacy POPs would indicate a reduction in the general pollutant levels present in the environment as has been shown in other areas of the North Atlantic, but there are significant geographic differences in POPs levels likely due to differences in diet resulting in significantly different exposures on a relatively limited spatial scale.


Bradbury G.,Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Consulting Ltd. | Trinder M.,MacArthur Green | Furness B.,MacArthur Green | Banks A.N.,Natural England | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

We present a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool, SeaMaST (Seabird Mapping and Sensitivity Tool), to provide evidence on the use of sea areas by seabirds and inshore waterbirds , English territorial waters, mapping their relative sensitivity to offshore wind farms. SeaMaST is a freely available evidence source for use by all connected to the offshore wind industry and will assist statutory agencies in assessing potential risks to seabird populations from planned developments. Data were compiled from offshore boat and aerial observer surveys spanning the period 1979-2012. The data were analysed using distance analysis and Density Surface Modelling to produce predicted bird densities across a grid covering English territorial waters at a resolution of 3 kmx3 km. Coefficients of Variation were estimated for each grid cell density, as an indication of confidence in predictions. Offshore wind farm sensitivity scores were compiled for seabird species using English territorial waters. The comparative risks to each species of collision with turbines and displacement from operational turbines were reviewed and scored separately, and the scores were multiplied by the bird density estimates to produce relative sensitivity maps. The sensitivity maps reflected well the amassed distributions of the most sensitive species. SeaMaST is an important new tool for assessing potential impacts on seabird populations from offshore development at a time when multiple large areas of development are proposed which overlap with many seabird species' ranges. It will inform marine spatial planning as well as identifying priority areas of sea usage by marine birds. Example SeaMaST outputs are presented. © 2014 Bradbury et al.

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