Peter M Dann

Peter M Dann
Phillip Island Nature Parks · Conservation

PhD ( Melb.)

About

219
Publications
61,671
Reads
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3,651
Citations
Introduction
Dr. Peter Dann is Research Director at Phillip Island Nature Parks (not-for-profit conservation organisation) which carries out investigations of the Island’s significant populations of Little Penguins, Short-tailed Shearwaters, Hooded Plovers, Australian Fur seals and the Island's threatened species. He has published over 170 papers and book chapters and edited a book on penguin ecology and management. His main research interests are population regulation, demography, climate change, foraging ecology, mitigation of anthropogenic threats to seabirds, ecology of islands and the conservation of threatened species. He has a life-long commitment to science-based wildlife management and threatened species conservation.
Additional affiliations
January 2018 - present
Phillip Island Nature Parks
Position
  • Research Director
January 2011 - December 2015
Australian Defence Force Academy
Position
  • Research Associate
January 2004 - January 2021
University of Melbourne
Position
  • Research Associate
Education
January 2000 - January 2000
University of Melbourne
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (219)
Article
Full-text available
Background: Penguins (Sphenisciformes) are a remarkable order of flightless wing-propelled diving seabirds distributed widely across the southern hemisphere. They share a volant common ancestor with Procellariiformes close to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (66 million years ago) and subsequently lost the ability to fly but enhanced their diving...
Article
Full-text available
The foraging niches of seabirds are driven by a variety of factors, including competition for prey that promotes divergence in trophic niches. Bass Strait, south-eastern Australia, is a key region for seabirds, with little penguins Eudyptula minor , short-tailed shearwaters Ardenna tenuirostris , fairy prions Pachyptila turtur and common diving-pet...
Article
Sampling seabirds The vastness of the worlds' oceans makes them difficult to monitor. Seabirds that forage and breed across oceans globally have been recognized as sentinels of ocean health. Sydeman et al. looked across seabird species of both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and found varying patterns. Northern Hemisphere species exhibited gr...
Article
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Droughts in many regions of the world are increasing in frequency and severity which, coupled with effects from anthropogenic water extraction and diversion, are reducing river discharges. Yet to date, few studies have investigated the impacts of hydrological droughts (i.e., reduced river outflows to the ocean) on seabirds. Here, we examined the co...
Article
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Penguins lost the ability to fly more than 60 million years ago, subsequently evolving a hyper-specialized marine body plan. Within the framework of a genome-scale, fossil-inclusive phylogeny, we identify key geological events that shaped penguin diversification and genomic signatures consistent with widespread refugia/recolonization during major c...
Article
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Fur seal populations in the Southern Hemisphere were plundered in the late 1700s and early 1800s to provide fur for a clothing industry. Millions of seals were killed resulting in potentially major ecosystem changes across the Southern Hemisphere, the consequences of which are unknown today. Following more than a century of population suppression,...
Article
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Variations in eye colour in birds are poorly documented. We measured and characterised eyes of 25 birds in the hand (16° × 22.5° segments per eye), using standardised and scaled images, and examined observations of 1 marked individual through time. We describe universal and extensive dark heterochromia (non-uniform colouration of the eye) in adult...
Article
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Corvids are exceptional predators which can become problematic and difficult to manage due to their adaptability, intelligence, and abundance. On Phillip Island (Victoria, Australia) little ravens (Corvus mellori) prey on the eggs of burrow-nesting little penguins (Eudyptula minor) at an ecologically and economically significant colony. Raven depre...
Article
Full-text available
A correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-021-02548-x
Article
ContextCapture, measurement, genetic sampling, ringing and flagging of shorebirds on their nests are standard techniques that underpin the study and conservation of these species. However, these techniques may reduce hatching success by compromising parental care or nest crypsis, thereby negatively influencing results, study populations and bird we...
Article
If conservation depends on people, then community partnerships are the lynchpin to conservation success. The contribution of local knowledge, intellectual capital and volunteer labour not only saves project managers invaluable time and money, it fosters ownership and longevity into conservation initiatives well beyond their projected timeframe. Isl...
Article
Terrestrial and aquatic birds have been proposed as sentinels for the spread of antimicrobial resistant bacteria, but few species have been investigated as sentinels, specifically in the context of AMR in the marine ecosystem. This study contrasts the occurrence of class 1 integrons and associated antimicrobial resistance genes in wild and captive...
Article
Specialised shorebirds frequent dynamic sandy shore ecosystems yet their foraging behaviour is often poorly known. We examine the effects of environmental (season, tide and level of the beach [zone]) and demographical/social (age, flock size, breeding status) variables on foraging behaviour (foraging rate [bill movements per minute], and foraging s...
Article
Few studies of animal escape behaviour simultaneously investigate behavioural and physiological responses. Differences between these response types, however, have consequences for the way in which habituation or tolerance is interpreted - behavioural habituation may incur physiological costs. We simultaneously measured heart rate (HR) and behaviour...
Article
Full-text available
Penguins (Sphenisciformes) are a remarkable order of flightless wing-propelled diving seabirds distributed widely across the southern hemisphere. They share a volant common ancestor with Procellariiformes close to the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (66 million years ago) and subsequently lost the ability to fly but enhanced their diving capabilities...
Article
ContextMonitoring survival of free-living precocial avian young is critical for population management, but difficult to achieve. Perhaps the most promising technique available to track survival is the deployment of devices such as radio-transmitters or data loggers, which allow for tracking of the individuals. AimsTo understand if the deployment of...
Article
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Sex-biases in populations can have important implications for species’ social biology, population demography and mating systems. It has recently been suggested that in some shorebirds, sex-specific bias in survival of precocial young may occur. This may be driven by variation in the brood sex-ratio and/or the sexual size dimorphism of young birds,...
Article
Full-text available
Between 1972 and 1987, 4902 Little Penguins Eudyptula minor were banded on Gabo Island, off the eastern Victorian coast; 2261 were adults and 2641 chicks. The 70 reported recoveries of dead banded birds (50 banded as chicks, 20 as adults) found away from Gabo Island are examined here. Most recoveries were of birds reported as beach-washed corpses o...
Article
Full-text available
Effective ecosystem-based management requires estimates of abundance and population trends of species of interest. Trend analyses are often limited due to sparse or short-term abundance estimates for populations that can be logistically difficult to monitor over time. Therefore it is critical to assess regularly the quality of the metrics in long-t...
Article
Parasite population structure can be used to infer fine-scale movement in host species. Many penguin species form large social colonies, and are highly philopatric, returning to the same nest or burrow, along the same route, after each trip to sea. Within a colony, however, the local abundance, physical similarity, and nocturnal habits of penguins...
Article
Full-text available
Technical advances in monitoring devices, specifically drones, are allowing managers and scientists to obtain quality information on ecosystem health with minimal disturbance to ecosystems and the wildlife they support. Temporal and spatial indicators of ecosystem health, such as population size and/or abundance estimates of marine mammals are the...
Article
Full-text available
Technical advances in monitoring devices, specifically drones, are allowing managers and scientists to obtain quality information on ecosystem health with minimal disturbance to ecosystems and the wildlife they support. Temporal and spatial indicators of ecosystem health, such as population size and/or abundance estimates of marine mammals are the...
Article
Within some socially monogamous species, the relative contribution of care provided by each parent varies substantially, from uniparental to equitable biparental care. The provision of care is influenced by its costs and benefits, which may differ between parents (leading to inter-parental “conflict”) and are expected to change in relation to the n...
Article
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Wildlife watching is an emerging ecotourism activity around the world. In Australia and New Zealand, night viewing of little penguins attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. As penguins start coming ashore after sunset, artificial lighting is essential to allow visitors to view them in the dark. This alteration of the nightscape warran...
Article
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Between 1971 and 2008, 3773 Little Penguins Eudyptula minor were flipper-banded at 20 colonies (and other sites) in western Victoria from Lorne in the east to Portland in the west. Most of these (2351; 62.3%) were at Port Campbell, with a further 949 (25.1%) at Middle Island, near Warrnambool. In general, bandings were of nestlings (2037; 54% of to...
Article
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Penguins are the most threatened group of seabirds after albatrosses. Despite being regularly captured in fishing gear, the threat to penguins, as a group, has not yet been assessed. We reviewed both published and grey literature to identify the fishing gear types that penguins are most frequently recorded in, the most impacted species and, for the...
Article
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The establishment and early colonisation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract has been recognised as a crucial stage in chick development, with pioneering microbial species responsible for influencing the development of the GI tract and influencing host health, fitness and disease status throughout life. Development of the microbiota in long lived se...
Data
Functional pathways predicted by PICRUSt and statistical analysis. (XLSX)
Article
The use of artificial light at night and its ecological consequences are increasing around the world. Light pollution can lead to massive mortality episodes for nocturnally active petrels, one of the most threatened avian groups. Some fledglings can be attracted or disoriented by artificial light on their first flights. Studies testing the effect o...
Article
A computer-based imaging method for determining feather microstructure coherency following a cleansing treatment, was developed, calibrated and trialled on Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhyhchos) feathers. The feathers were initially contaminated with a light crude oil and then cleansed by either detergent (Deacon 90) treatment or, alternatively, by magn...
Article
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The Numeniini is a tribe of 13 wader species (Scolopacidae, Charadriiformes) of which seven are Near Threatened or globally threatened, including two Critically Endangered. To help inform conservation management and policy responses, we present the results of an expert assessment of the threats that members of this taxonomic group face across migra...
Article
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One of the most critical phases in the life of petrels (Procellariiformes) is at fledging when young birds pass from parental dependence on land to an independent life at sea. To mitigate mortality at this time, rescue programs are implemented near breeding sites around the world, especially for birds grounded by artificial lights. We evaluated the...
Article
Full-text available
Artificial lights at night cause high mortality of seabirds, one of the most endangered groups of birds globally. Fledglings of burrow-nesting seabirds, and to a lesser extent adults, are grounded by lights when they fly at night. We review the current state of knowledge of light attraction, identify information gaps and propose measures to address...
Article
Piscivorous species like the Little Penguin (Eudyptula minor) are particularly at risk of being negatively impacted by pollution due to their heightened exposure through aquatic food chains. Therefore, determining the concentration of heavy metals in the fish prey of seabirds is an essential component of assessing such risk. In this study, we repor...
Conference Paper
Nest predation is a major cause of reproductive failure among birds, and can drive prey population declines. Here, we describe novel predatory behaviour of a corvid (little raven Corvus mellori) that has recently emerged, leading to widespread and intense predation of eggs of little penguins (Eudyptula minor). The presence of penguin eggs in burrow...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Piscivorous species, of which little penguins belong, are particularly at risk of being negatively impacted by pollution due to their large exposure through aquaSc food chains. Determining the rate of bioaccumulation from fish to predator is an essential component of assessing such risk. In this study, we report arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead and...
Article
Wildlife living in the suburbs faces the challenge of dealing with human presence and yard management (including the occurrence of pets) which vary at the scale of the house block. This study examined the influence of ecological factors (e.g. extent of grass and food availability) and anthropogenic factors (e.g. human activity and garden usage) on...
Conference Paper
Islands of Australia are used as conservation Arks primarily to protect mainland species from exotic predators such as European foxes and feral cats. The mainland subspecies of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) is listed in Victoria as ‘Extinct in the Wild’, and their decline is attributed to their susceptibility to predation by foxes and to habit...
Article
Full-text available
Energy management models provide theories and predictions for how animals manage their energy budgets within their energetic constraints, in terms of their resting metabolic rate (RMR) and daily energy expenditure (DEE). Thus, uncovering what associations exist between DEE and RMR is key to testing these models. Accordingly, there is considerable i...
Article
Vertebrate ecologists often assess invertebrate prey resources using techniques which sample invertebrate assemblages, and assume such sampling reflects the diet of their focal species. We compare the invertebrate assemblages as recorded by pitfall traps for Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles breeding territories in Phillip Island, Australia, and show t...
Article
Most effects of environmental and climate variability on predator life-history traits and population dynamics result from indirect effects mediated through the food chain. There is growing evidence that wind strength might affect seabirds while foraging at sea. Here, we investigated the effect of wind speed on the foraging performance of a flightle...
Conference Paper
Islands of Australia are used as conservation Arks primarily to protect mainland species from exotic predators such as European foxes and feral cats. The mainland subspecies of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot (EBB) is listed in Victoria as ‘Extinct in the Wild’, and their decline is attributed to their susceptibility to predation by foxes and to habit...
Article
Full-text available
Visible light on Earth largely comes from the sun, including light reflected from the moon. Predation risk is strongly determined by light conditions, and some animals are nocturnal to reduce predation. Artificial lights and its consequent light pollution may disrupt this natural behavior. Here, we used 13 years of attendance data to study the effe...
Article
Full-text available
Studies of physiology can provide important insight into how animals are coping with challenges in their environment and can signal the potential effects of exposure to human activity in both the short and long term. In this study, we measured the physiological and behavioural response of little penguins (Eudyptula minor) that were naïve to human a...
Article
Sampling sandy shore macro-invertebrate fauna is critical in enhancing our understanding of beach ecology and conservation, and is a common monitoring approach. The traditional, and almost universal, method of sampling involves sieving sand to locate infauna, but here we describe a novel Hydraulic Sampling Device (HSD), a candidate method for futur...
Article
Full-text available
Seabirds are subject to the influences of local climate variables during periods of land-based activities such as breeding and, for some species, moult; particularly if they undergo a catastrophic moult (complete simultaneous moult) as do penguins. We investigated potential relationships between adult penguin survival and land-based climate variabl...
Article
Sex roles during incubation vary dramatically in socially monogamous shorebirds. The "incubator conspicuousness" hypothesis posits that, for biparentally incubating and sexually dimorphic birds, the more conspicuous sex should incubate when visually foraging predators are inactive, and in many ecosystems this is at night. Therefore, sexually monomo...
Article
Full-text available
Context Egg depredation is a major cause of reproductive failure among birds and can drive population declines. In this study we investigate predatory behaviour of a corvid (little raven; Corvus mellori) that has only recently emerged, leading to widespread and intense depredation of eggs of a burrow-nesting seabird (little penguin; Eudyptula minor...
Article
Egg predation is a major cause of reproductive failure among birds, and can compromise the viability of affected populations. Some egg predators aggregate near colonially breeding birds to exploit the seasonal increase of prey resources. We investigated spatial and temporal variations in the abundance of an egg predator (little raven Corvus mellori...
Article
Predictor variables (or covariates) are frequently used in a capture-recapture analysis when estimating demographic quantities such as population size or survival probabilities. If these predictor variables are measured with error and subsequently used in the analysis, then estimates of the model parameters may be biased. Several approaches have be...