Research objectives and content
There is currently a pan-European conflict over the impact of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo on coastal and inland fish stocks. Central to this debate is uncertainty over the winter food requirements of this species and the associated impact on fischeries. This study will use state-of-the-art techniques to obtain the first direct measurements of food intake of Great Cormorants foraging in a cold (<50C) environment and investigate, both in the field and experimentally, if the species exhibits behavioural, physiological or morphological adaptations to extreme conditions. These reults will be used to develop a model to calculate the food intake of cormorants which integrates energetic and environmental parameters. This will be highly relevant tot the cormorant management policies of many European Union countries where there is currently a recognised lack of appropriate, quantitative date needed to develop such policies.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
This project will enable the candidate to join a highly productive and internationnaly renowned reserach group at the Institue of Terrestrial Ecology, Banchory. The candidate ill receive advanced training in a ide range f ecological techniques thereby maximising his prospecs of (i) publishing top quality journals, and (ii) future employement in the fields of basic science, conservation and ecological management.