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 am combining avian visual and behavioural ecology to examine the problem of waterbirds' fatal interactions with man-made hazards, in both underwater and aerial environments. This will enable me to utilise a sensory ecology approach to address the issues of bird bycatch in fishing nets and collisions with structures.

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 (Bycatch Programme Manager, RSPB)

This project will increase understanding about the visual abilities of waterbirds, and species’ behavioural responses to novel visual stimuli. I am measuring 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 influence their susceptibility to fishing net entrapment and collisions. Furthermore, I have conducted an experiment 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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