Mrs Jennifer Cantlay

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Personal profile

My doctoral research focuses on avian sensory ecology and its application to conservation science. More specifically, I will be combining avian visual and behavioural ecology to address questions associated with the visual limitations experienced by birds foraging in an underwater environment. This will enable me to utilise a sensory ecology approach to address the issue of bird bycatch in fishing nets.

This research project is funded under the London NERC DTP and involves a CASE Partnership with the RSPB. My primary supervisor is Dr Steve Portugal with co-supervisory collaboration from Dr Alex Bond (Senior Bird Curator, The Natural History Museum, Tring) and Mr Rory Crawford (Gillnet Programme Manager, RSPB)

This project will increase understanding about the visual abilities of waterbirds, and species’ behavioural responses to novel visual stimuli. I will examine the visual fields of a wide range of waterbird species (both captive and wild birds) with varied foraging behaviour to provide an interspecific comparative evaluation of their visual field characteristics. This will help me to determine how their visual fields may predipose them to entrapment in fishing nets. Furthermore, I will be conducting experiments in an aquatic environment to assess the behaviour of ducks to LED lights, a proposed mitigation measure for bycatch reduction. The research findings aim to inform the development of technological solutions to bird bycatch, since the collaboration with the RSPB will contribute to their work with gillnet fisheries.


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