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Junior Research Fellow launches project to support declining seabirds

2 November 2017

The number of seabirds across the planet has declined severely over recent decades (70% in the last 60 years), threatened by pollution, overfishing and climate change. These incredible ocean wanderers are now the most endangered group of birds on Earth.  Junior Research Fellow Annette Fayet's project is a scientific expedition to study – and ultimately, protect – tropical seabirds on the very remote Aldabra Atoll in the outer Seychelles, the last pristine island in the western Indian Ocean.

The island is a World Heritage Site and home to incredible wildlife. It’s one of the last places where these species can be studied in a natural and untouched environment, but with increasing ocean pollution and global warming, this opportunity may not last. Most animals on Aldabra are poorly studied, but one species in particular, the red-tailed tropicbird Phaeton rubricauda, a magnificent seabird, is in trouble. Monitoring by a local conservation organisation, the Seychelles Islands Foundation, has revealed that red-tailed tropicbirds on Aldabra have been declining continuously for the last ten years, with low breeding success.

Finding out why such decline is happening is critical to inform conservation measures to help protect this species. The decline is likely linked with the availability of prey at sea, but in order to identify its exact cause, it is essential for us to understand the feeding ecology of tropicbirds, about which we currently know very little.

Find out more about how you can support the work here:

Photo: Holly Kirk

Annette Fayet with young puffin