Melinda Conners

Melinda Conners
Stony Brook University | Stony Brook · School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

Ph.D.

About

22
Publications
8,098
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380
Citations

Publications

Publications (22)
Article
Full-text available
Background To meet the minimum energetic requirements needed to support parents and their provisioned offspring, the timing of breeding in birds typically coincides with periods of high food abundance. Seasonality and synchrony of the reproductive cycle is especially important for marine species that breed in high latitudes with seasonal booms in...
Article
Full-text available
Background Inertial measurement units (IMUs) with high-resolution sensors such as accelerometers are now used extensively to study fine-scale behavior in a wide range of marine and terrestrial animals. Robust and practical methods are required for the computationally-demanding analysis of the resulting large datasets, particularly for automating cl...
Article
Full-text available
Marine protected areas (MPAs), particularly large MPAs, are increasing in number and size around the globe in part to facilitate the conservation of marine megafauna under the assumption that large-scale MPAs better align with vagile life histories; however, this alignment is not well established. Using a global tracking dataset from 36 species acr...
Article
Full-text available
Mortality from incidental bycatch in longline fishery operations is a global threat to seabird populations, and especially so for the albatross family (Diomedeidae) in which 15 out of 22 species are threatened with extinction. Despite the risks, fisheries remain attractive to many species of seabird by providing access to high-energy foods in the f...
Article
Full-text available
Offshore wind energy is expanding globally and new floating wind turbine technology now allows wind energy developments in areas previously too deep for fixed-platform turbines. Floating offshore wind has the potential to greatly expand our renewable energy portfolio, but with rapid expansion planned globally, concerns exist regarding impacts to ma...
Article
Full-text available
1. Understanding encounters between marine predators and fisheries across national borders and outside national jurisdictions offers new perspectives on un-wanted interactions to inform ocean management and predator conservation. Although seabird-fisheries overlap has been documented at many scales, remote identification of vessel encounters has la...
Article
Full-text available
Migratory marine species cross political borders and enter the high seas, where the lack of an effective global management framework for biodiversity leaves them vulnerable to threats. Here, we combine 10,108 tracks from 5775 individual birds at 87 sites with data on breeding population sizes to estimate the relative year-round importance of nation...
Article
Full-text available
1. Understanding encounters between marine predators and fisheries across national borders and outside national jurisdictions offers new perspectives on un-wanted interactions to inform ocean management and predator conservation. Although seabird-fisheries overlap has been documented at many scales, remote identification of vessel encounters has la...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the diet of deep-diving predators can provide essential insight to the trophic structure of the mesopelagic ecosystem. Comprehensive population-level diet estimates are exceptionally difficult to obtain for elusive marine predators due to the logistical challenges involved in observing their feeding behavior and collecting samples for...
Article
As the animal welfare community strives to empirically assess how care and management practices can help maintain or even enhance welfare, the development of tools for non-invasively measuring physiological biomarkers is essential. Of the suite of physiological biomarkers, Immunoglobulin A (IgA), particularly the secretory form (Secretory IgA or SI...
Article
Full-text available
Marine protected areas are considered important tools for protecting marine biodiversity, and animal tracking is a key way to determine if boundaries are effectively placed for protection of key marine species, including seabirds. We tracked chick-rearing brown noddies (Anous stolidus) from the Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida USA in 2016 usin...
Article
Seabirds that forage in dense groups can be especially vulnerable to anthropogenic threats at sea. To mitigate these threats to populations, nesting habitat restoration may be a viable option by reducing negative density dependence. Accordingly, we undertook a before-after control-impact (BACI) experiment to test whether habitat modification could...
Article
Full-text available
Changes to patterns of wind and ocean currents are tightly linked to climate change and have important implications for cost of travel and energy budgets in marine vertebrates. We evaluated how El Niñ o-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-driven wind patterns affected breeding Laysan and black-footed albatross across a decade of study. Owing to latitudinal...
Thesis
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A fundamental condition of the struggle for existence is resource limitation. Optimal foraging theory describes how individuals refine behavior to most efficiently exploit available resources. For colonial breeding animals, such as seabirds, competition for limited resources is amplified by a high density of competitors at feeding grounds near the...
Article
Full-text available
Marine ecologists and managers need to know the spatial extent of at-sea areas most frequented by the groups of wildlife they study or manage. Defining group-specific ranges and distributions (i.e., space use at the level of species, population, age-class, etc.) can help to identify the source or severity of common or distinct threats among differe...
Article
Full-text available
Background Climate-driven environmental change in the North Pacific has been well documented, with marked effects on the habitat and foraging behavior of marine predators. However, the mechanistic linkages connecting climate-driven changes in behavior to predator populations are not well understood. We evaluated the effects of climate-driven enviro...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
To evaluate, empirically, the potential effectiveness of large marine protected areas for highly mobile and migratory marine animals. This work is highly collaborative- we are incorporating nearly 50 tracking datasets from 35 species of marine animals, including sea birds, sea turtles, elasmobranchs, and marine mammals. We are evaluating home range and core area use across species, sex and age classes, and life history phases, and comparing ranges to existing marine protected areas. Our findings will highlight temporal and spatial scales that should be considered when designing and managing protected areas for migratory animals.