Development of time-lapse photography for the population monitoring of a colonial seabird

Edney, Alice J. (2020) Development of time-lapse photography for the population monitoring of a colonial seabird. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire. doi:10.46289/CI36CO13

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Seabirds are one of the most threatened groups of birds and large-scale monitoring is needed to link changing population trends to causative factors, in order to address population declines. Rapid advances in technology are offering new and exciting possibilities to expand monitoring over larger spatial and temporal scales, however, they also raise new challenges, such as dealing with increased amounts of data and ensuring the data obtained are comparable to that from ‘traditional’ monitoring methods. Specifically, this research focused on the use of time-lapse cameras to monitor the Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, a species listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Chapters one and two used a case study on Skomer Island, Wales, to compare measurements of productivity and phenology obtained from fieldwork with expert analysis of time-lapse images. Chapter two then went on to explore the effects of weather on Kittiwake nest survival on Skomer. Chapter three used data from across a much wider area, to compare expert analysis of time-lapse images with citizen science analysis. This study showed that both field and image-derived data have inherent biases, but together can inform meaningful investigation into the factors contributing to Kittiwake decline. I found that strong westerly winds may be reducing egg and chick survival at the Wick colony, Skomer, and high daily maximum temperatures could also be lowering egg survival. If these results represent a longer-term pattern, then it could have important implications for Kittiwake population dynamics with climate change, which is predicted to increase the frequency and intensity of weather extremes. Expanding the scale of monitoring via the citizen science project, Seabird Watch, was found to have promising potential; although further work is needed to ensure volunteer data are as good as expert classification. Many factors affected the accuracy of citizen science results and these must be carefully considered before using the data to answer bigger scientific questions. Overall, this study has shown the potential of using time-lapse imagery to monitor a cliff-nesting seabird and will likely become an increasingly cost-effective monitoring solution in the coming years.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Hart, TomUNSPECIFIED[]=&filter_series-2714856[]=#tab-2714851
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology > QL605 Chordates. Vertebrates > QL671-699 Birds
T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Rhiannon Goodland
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2022 14:52
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:58

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