Puffin plight under the spotlight

They are one of our most iconic birds but are they in danger from the impact of climate change?

The University of Aberdeen will bring art and science together to explain the plight of the puffin with the talk Puffins: Past, Present and Future which is part of Techfest in September - the annual festival of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics taking place in the city between September 6 and 26 and jointly supported by principal sponsors BP and Shell.

Professor Mike Harris, Emeritus Fellow at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, is giving the talk which will take place on Wednesday (September 17) at 7pm at Aberdeen Biodiversity Centre within the Zoology Building.

“Most of the headlines about puffins are negative - almost as though people have a death wish for the species. The puffin is, however, remarkably resilient but even so it remains to be seen how this cold-water species will adjust to our seas becoming warmer,” said Professor Harris.

The Zoology Building is also hosting a thought-provoking art installation called The Puffin Wreck which is available for free public viewing from September 18 until December. Those attending Puffins: Past, Present and Future will also be able to view the exhibition.

Marie Fish, Aberdeen Biodiversity Centre manager, added: “Having witnessed the ‘wreck’ of puffins, which were washed up along the beaches of North East Scotland during the spring of 2013, artist Mary-Ann Orr was moved. 

“Concern for the impacts of climate change on seabird populations caused her to develop this art installation as a testimony to this devastation, using her art as a personal narrative to evidence, voice, record and then share this catastrophic event with public audiences.

“We are delighted that both are part of Techfest in September.”