Dr Adam Kane is conducting a postdoctoral research project entitled “Modelling the impacts of fossils and renewable energy industries on internationally protected seabird populations around Ireland” under the mentorship of Prof John Quinn. Adam is investigating questions about information transfer in seabirds as well as the conservation of the group. As part of this, he is developing a model to quantify nutrient loading, and is also working on tagging and tracking Storm Petrels (see abstracts below).
Nutrient Loading Model
Animals impact their own environment and that of co-occurring species by simply moving around. Notably, as an animal excretes and defecates it will cause nutrient loading, a process that can radically affect environmental features such as primary productivity and water quality leading to changes in community composition and exposure to disease; excreta may even contain pathogens harmful to human health. Efforts to describe this process typically follow an analytical or numerical approach such that the spatial nature of the system is poorly represented. Spatially explicit models however, can redress this issue. Here I am developing an agent-based model in combination with GIS land cover data to demonstrate a more suitable method for quantifying nutrient loading where the nature of the recipient habitat is of interest.
Storm Petrel Tracking
Discovering where seabirds fly while they’re at sea is notoriously difficult because we can’t observe them directly. We aim to rectify this for one species, the elusive and diminutive European Storm Petrel, by tagging and tracking it on its forays off the Atlantic coast of Ireland. Up to now this species has been too small to track using GPS tags but recent developments in tracking technology have reduced tag size to such an extent that they can now be safely deployed on these birds. The information that results from this project will ultimately be used to help us better conserve our Storm Petrel populations.