St Cross Student Martyna Syposz Sheds Light on the Manx Shearwater


St Cross student Martyna Syposz (DPhil Zoology, 2017) has been taking part in a long-running research project that aims to better understand Manx shearwater birds on the Welsh island of Skomer, off the Pembrokeshire coast.

The BBC have recently highlighted this research and filmed Martyna and her colleagues undertaking a study of Manx shearwater chicks on Skomer. More than 300,000 pairs of Manx shearwater - more than half the world's population - breed on Skomer, and they only return at night to feed their young, when there is less chance of being attacked by gulls.

Martyna is one of four researchers from the University of Oxford's Dept of Zoology on the island, and the team have been weighing the chicks in order to monitor their weight gain and development, and compare the size of chicks year on year to see how the population copes with changes in their environment.

Martyna's DPhil focuses on the effect of light intensity on Manx shearwater navigation skills - young chicks can often get confused and disoriented by artificial light from towns and villages along the coast, and her research could lead to the development of shearwater-friendly lighting.

"It could be attraction or they could be disorientated, so one of my questions I'm trying to answer is why they're coming to the light polluted areas," she says.

You can view the BBC news article and video interviews here:


Ella Bedrock

Tuesday 28 August 2018

Photo & story: BBC Wales