By Tommy Clay
On Wednesday 23rd October everyone affiliated with SEGUL, including those external to Liverpool, convened for our annual symposium. This year was the largest yet, with 13 talks on a wide range of species and scientific questions.
Steph Harris kicked off the first session of the day with a presentation about current work linking personality, feather corticosterone and carry-over effects in polar seabirds. Rahel Borrmann then gave an update of work she has been doing during her internship in Liverpool, analysing large herring gull GPS datasets to investigate individual foraging site fidelity. Sam Patrick then provided a summary of work linking personality, climate, foraging behaviour and breeding success in albatrosses.
Ruth Dunn commenced the second session with an overview of the year-round energy expenditure of common guillemots, as well as future plans to investigate the effect of climate change on their energetics. Alice Carravieri provided a summary of her Marie Curie-funded project investigating the links between foraging ecology, contaminant exposure and parasites in European shags. Jamie Duckworth gave an overview of his fieldwork this summer in Iceland tagging red-throated divers. Unfortunately, Jamie and colleagues had some problems in the field, largely because “red-throated divers are jerks”. Sophie Bennett presented work from her PhD investigating how breeding-site occupancy in guillemots from the Isle of May changes over time in relation to population size.
After lunch, Finn McCully, who started her PhD less than a month ago, gave us an overview of her past research endeavours and the aims of her current project investigating parental effort of black-legged kittiwakes. Teri Jones presented the results of the last chapter of her PhD on producer-scrounger foraging networks in Australasian gannets. Jon Green then followed on nicely, with an overview of what these gannets do during the winter.
In the final session of the day, Lila Buckingham showed us the wintering distributions of multiple populations of auks in the North Atlantic. Tommy Clay discussed recent work investigating the effects of wind on juvenile seabird migration. Rhiannon Austin capped off a thought-provoking day with a tour-de-force her recent tracking work on Cayman boobies. This included some neat camera footage, and topics such as spatial segregation, kleptoparasitism and social foraging.
Like one of Rhi’s boobies we all smiled for the camera, and then headed to the pub!