Northern fulmars

George Dunnet with Bird # 64 in 1992The University of Aberdeen has been carrying out research on the ecology of fulmars at a colony on the small uninhabited island of Eynhallow, in Orkney, since 1950. Instigated by Professor Wynne Edwards, then Head of the Dept of Zoology, the study was subsequently developed by Professor George Dunnet to become a classic example of how one can use long-term studies of individuals to understand population ecology.

Since 2000, the study has been integrated into the Lighthouse Field Station's studies of marine mammal and seabird ecology. This long time-series of data has allowed us to explore the drivers of population dynamics over a period where there have been marked changes in seabird population trends in the North Atlantic, and carry out comparative studies with colleagues at other colonies in the region.

Example studies

Mallory, M.L., Gaston, A.J., Forbes, M.R., Gilchrist, H.G., Cheney, B., Lewis, S. & Thompson, P.M. (2008) Flexible incubation rhythm in northern fulmars: a comparison between oceanographic zones. Marine Biology, 154: 1031-1040.

Thompson, P.M. & Ollason, J. C. (2001) Lagged effects of ocean climate change on fulmar population dynamics. Nature, 413: 417-420.