Summer is almost over in Europe (was it ever here in Ireland though?) and I finally have some desk time to keep you all updated on our Seabird/Marine Litter work. I’ve acquired a license to work on the seabird colonies over the Summer and collect some samples for my PhD project. As most of you is aware, I am studying plastic litter ingestion by seabirds and how that can be used to monitor marine litter and influence policy, and there are different ways to approach/tackle this research. As pollutants are known to be more readily adsorbed on the surface of marine plastic litter, we wanted to look at the contaminants load present in ‘Irish’ seabirds. I had the chance to visit some really nice breeding colonies, work with some really nice people, along with BirdWatch Ireland and collect samples such as feathers and preen oil from different species of seabirds. As the birds are ringed, they might spontaneously regurgitate stomach contents, as a defense mecanism or a reaction to stress. I took advantage of that and collected regurgitates for our plastics research. And of course, I collected eventual carcasses found around the colonies, being that adults or juveniles.
Now I have loads of lab work to be done over the next few cold months, but that should give us some interesting results and I can’t wait to find out! A huge thanks to everyone who has helped me over the Summer with the field work, especially BirdWatch Ireland, Niall Keogh and my supervisor Ian O’Connor.
Also, our Beached Bird Surveys are still running. As the weather gets a bit rougher with the end of the Summer, we should have a few more seabird ‘casualties’. They have reduced a little over the Summer, but I was still able to get some beached birds now and again. Thanks to all the great volunteers all over the ROI. Please, keep an eye on your regular beaches and report/collect any suitable seabird carcasses you may come across. It’s for a good cause 🙂
Now I’ll leave you all with a nice photo summary of the colony work!
Published by Heidi Acampora