Bernard Tucker Memorial Lecture: The shearwater’s world

Published on 07 January 2019 in Main articles

By Tim Guilford

Abstract Shearwaters are among the greatest travellers on earth, living their elusive lives mostly far out at sea, but constrained to breed in dense colonies on islands away from land-based predators. This article describes how recent advances in miniature bio-logging technology and modern analytical techniques have enabled the secrets of the shearwater’s world to become accessible to scientific understanding. From fundamental questions in life-history theory, distribution patterns, and navigation, to applications in the conservation of critically endangered species, aspects of the shearwater’s world (including Manx Puffinus puffinus, Balearic P. mauretanicus and Scopoli’s Calonectris diomedea) are revealed through the lens of one research group combining modern bio-telemetry, experiment, and classical field study.

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Tim Guilford working at the Manx Shearwater study colony on Skomer. Ben Dean