Nina O'Hanlon

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Scottish Centre for Ecology & the Natural Environment
University of Glasgow
Rowardennan
Glasgow G63 0AW

Tel: +44 (0) 1360 870271
Fax: + 44 (0) 1360 870381

Email: n.ohanlon.1@research.gla.ac.uk


I am interested in how seabirds can be used to monitor the state of coastal marine habitats across Northern Ireland and south-west Scotland. Currently, most monitoring programmes using seabirds to monitor the marine environment use long-term datasets on seabird colony counts. These datasets provide invaluable information on the temporal variation in seabirds, however detecting even small significant changes in these populations can be extremely difficult.

Instead this project aims to investigate the effectiveness of alternative, easy to monitor traits to identify the state of seabird populations that give greater resolution than population counts; focusing on the widespread and generalist coastal seabird - the herring gull Larus argentatus, and to a lesser extent the Eurpoean shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis.

Exploiting existing spatial variation in seabird numbers across the region, I am investigating whether traits associated with the birds' eggs, resource use /diet and foraging behaviours are sensitive to local environmental conditions and, if so, whether they relate to demographic parameters such as the birds' productivity and population dynamics.

For more information on how we are tracking herring gulls in south-west Scotland to look at foraging behaviour and resource use in more detail see the Movement of Gulls in Coastal Habitats page, and also the Naturally Speaking blog post Using herring gulls to monitor the health of coastal marine ecosystems

Academic History

  • 2012 - Present: PhD Scholarship "Seabirds as monitors of shallow coastal waters". Supervised by Ruedi Nager
  • 2010 - 2011  MRes Ecology and Environmental Management, University of York  
  • 2002 - 2005 BSc (Hons) Zoology, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne 
  • Gillingham, P.G., Bradbury, R.B., Roy, D.B., Anderson, B.J., Baxter, J.M., Bourne, N.A.D., Crick, H, Q., Findon, R.A., Fox, R., Franco, A., Hill, J.K., Hodgson, J.A., Holt, A.R., Morecroft, M.D., O'Hanlon, N.J., Oliver, T.H., Pearce-Higgins, J, W., Procter, D.A., Thomas, J.A., Walker, K.J., Walmsley, C.A., Wilson, R.J. & Thomas, C.D. (2015) The effectiveness of protected areas in the conservation of species with changing geographical ranges. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 115, 707-717.  10.1111/bij.12506
  • Thomas, C.D., Gillingham, P.G., Bradbury, R.B., Roy, D.B., Anderson, B.J., Baxter, J.M., Bourne, N.A.D., Crick, H, Q., Findon, R.A., Fox, R., Hodgson, J.A., Holth, A.R., Morecroft, M.D., O'Hanlon, N.J., Oliver, T.H., Pearce-Higgins, J, W., Procter, D.A., Thomas, J.A., Walker, K.J., Walmsley, C.A., Wilson, R.J. & Hill, J.K. (2012) Protected areas facilitate species’ range expansions. PNAS, 109, 14063-14068. 10.1073/pnas.1210251109
  • Phillips, R.D., Chapman, G.C., O'Hanlon, N.J. & Morris, L.C. (2008) A short-term avifauna survey of Faraway Bay in the north Kimberley, Western Australia. Amytornis Western Australian Journal of Ornithology, 1, 17-21.
  • 2011 The effect of egg size and nest type on Norway rat predation to determine their impact on breeding seabirds on the Calf of Man.
  • 2011 The role of protected areas in facilitating the northward expansion of several southern bird species in response to climate change.
  • 2005 The effect of overnight temperature on dawn mass and singing rate in small passerines.