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The conservation biology of the Monteiro’s storm-petrel and band-rumped storm-petrel on Ilhéu da Praia, Azores

Hereward, Hannah F. R. 2022. The conservation biology of the Monteiro’s storm-petrel and band-rumped storm-petrel on Ilhéu da Praia, Azores. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis addresses the conservation of two species of seabird (Monteiro’s and band-rumped storm-petrels) that breed on the same islet in the Azores Archipelago, but at different times of year. Chapter 1 provides a General Introduction to the thesis, and Chapter 2 sets out the General Methods used. Chapter 3 addresses the biotic and abiotic drivers of long-term changes in breeding success, phenology and chick growth. A major concerning finding is that breeding success has declined in both species over the 20-year study period, with this decline being most substantial (~1% per year) for the endemic Monteiro’s storm-petrel. Possible causes of this decline include interacting weather variables (air temperature, wind speed and rainfall) and other species implicated in nesting failures (Barolo Shearwater, Cory’s Shearwater, other storm-petrel species, Madeiran Wall Lizard, and ants). The remaining data chapters combine novel technologies to aid in describing behaviours in the nest and at sea to inform conservation action. Chapter 4 details the development and successful deployment of a cheap but reliable bespoke nest camera system, providing a highly flexible tool for monitoring burrow-nesting birds in remote locations. Chapter 5 utilises this camera technology to quantify both storm-petrel species’ daily and seasonal routines of behaviour, and three categories of threats. Of the two species, Monteiro’s storm-petrel chicks experienced more frequent interactions with all three categories of threats. Chapter 6 is a proof-of-concept study that demonstrates the powerful combination of GPS tracking, camera monitoring and chick weighing, to examine the inter-relation of foraging behaviour and breeding success. This could be deployed in future studies of breeding seabirds to address ongoing conservation challenges. The General Discussion describes the urgent need for conservation action to address the substantial decline in breeding success of the endemic Monteiro’s storm-petrel, highlighting a range of achievable and potentially effective conservation management actions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 October 2022
Date of Acceptance: 21 October 2022
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2023 15:48

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