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A Long-term Study of Guillemots on Skomer Island

Friday 29 March, 7.00-8.00pm – Newcastle University – Ridley Building 2, room RIDB2.1.65

With Tim Birkhead

Every summer for the past 46 years, Tim has travelled to the island of Skomer, just off the Pembrokeshire coast in south-west Wales, to monitor the guillemots that breed there. Over the last 46 years he has witnessed the impact of environmental change on these birds. He has seen oil spills kill thousands of guillemots and despaired at the way increasingly severe winter storms result in ‘wrecks’ of huge numbers of seabirds. He has also observed the stark impact of climate change on Skomer’s guillemots – with the birds now breeding a full two weeks earlier than they did in the 1970s.

Long-term studies like this provide unique and extraordinary insights into how populations work, while also providing a bank of data essential for interpreting future changes. Join Tim to hear more about the Skomer guillemots, their status as the ‘barometer of the ocean’, and their fate as climate change and other, unrelated factors apply new pressure to the colony.