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Leading experts host exclusive talk at Scottish Seabird Centre

Gannets landing near Bass Rock Credit: Scottish Seabird Centre

Gannets landing near Bass Rock Credit: Scottish Seabird Centre

Two leading wildlife experts, Professor Keith Hamer and Professor Bob Furness, are hosting an exclusive evening talk at the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick, on Tuesday 16 June, 19:30. Scotland’s seabirds: life on the edge will incorporate talks by each Professor, focusing on recent research, seabird behaviour and current threats.

The Bass Rock is the world’s largest colony of Northern gannets, however, with approval having being granted for over 300 giant wind turbines off the Forth and Tay, there is major concern about the impacts on internationally important seabird populations. These talks form part of the Seabird Centre’s campaign calling for further research to be undertaken.

Professor Keith Hamer is a Professor of Animal Ecology at the University of Leeds and President of the British Ornithologists’ Union. His experience with seabirds dates back to 1984, while his research with gannets began in 1998 using a variety of new technologies to try to gain a better understanding of gannet behaviour while out at sea.

The title for this talk is All at sea: changing risks and opportunities for Northern gannets which will focus on the stark contrast in gannet numbers compared to other seabirds. Professor Hamer will cover the foraging behaviour of gannets, the potential impacts of offshore wind energy and present data from a range of bird-borne data loggers to consider how birds may be affected by these developments.

Professor Bob Furness is Principal Ornithologist at MacArthur Green environmental consultancy, and a member of the Board of Scottish Natural Heritage. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, has chaired ICES Working Groups on a variety of marine and seabird topics, and has twice been on the Council of the British Trust for Ornithology.

The title for this talk is Threats to Scottish seabirds and Professor Furness will explore the decline in seabird numbers, the potential reasons for this decline and the vital research and conservation that must be undertaken.

Tom Brock OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: “At a time when offshore wind energy is at the forefront of our minds, and when we have called for further research to be undertaken to ensure that risks to all seabirds are minimised, we are delighted to welcome two of the country’s leading experts to highlight some of the current concerns, trends, research and issues.

“At the Scottish Seabird Centre, conservation, education and research are key priorities and we have been working in partnership with Professor Hamer and Professor Furness for many years. It is fantastic that we have secured the opportunity for them to present their fascinating findings at a time when further research is critical to securing the future of our amazing local wildlife.”

Scotland’s seabirds: life on the edge will take place at the Scottish Seabird Centre on 16 June, 19:30. Tickets must be bought in advance. This can be done online at www.seabird.org, in person at the Scottish Seabird Centre or on the phone 01620 890202. Tickets are £5 per person (£3 for Seabird Members). Income supports the work of the charity.

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