Ruth E Dunn

Ruth E Dunn
Lancaster University | LU · Lancaster Environment Centre

Doctor of Philosophy

About

13
Publications
2,068
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64
Citations
Introduction
I enjoy researching the ecology and conservation biology of marine systems, focussing on marine top predators.
Additional affiliations
October 2021 - September 2022
Florida International University
Position
  • Postdoctoral Associate
October 2015 - August 2016
University of Hull
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
September 2016 - September 2020
University of Liverpool
Field of study
  • Seabird Ecology
October 2014 - October 2015
Imperial College London
Field of study
  • Ecology, Evolution and Conservation
September 2011 - May 2014
University of Hull
Field of study
  • Ecology

Publications

Publications (13)
Article
Full-text available
For free-ranging animals, field metabolic rate (FMR) is the sum of their energy expenditure over a specified period. This quantity is a key component of ecological processes at every biological level. We applied a phylogenetically informed meta-analytical approach to identify the large-scale determinants of FMR in seabirds during the breeding seaso...
Article
Full-text available
Information on seabird foraging behaviour outside the breeding season is currently limited. This knowledge gap is critical as this period is energetically demanding due to post‐fledging parental care, feather moult and changing environmental conditions. Based on species’ body size, post‐fledging parental strategy and primary moult schedule we teste...
Article
Full-text available
During their annual cycles, animals face a series of energetic challenges as they prioritise different life history events by engaging in temporally and potentially spatially segregated reproductive and non-breeding periods. investigating behaviour and energy use across these periods is fundamental to understanding how animals survive the changing...
Article
Full-text available
Prey depletion may contribute to marine predator declines, yet the forage base required to sustain an unfished population of predatory fish at carrying capacity is unknown. We integrated demographic and physiological data within a Bayesian bioenergetic model to estimate annual consumption of a grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) population...
Article
Full-text available
The ability of individual animals to balance their energy budgets throughout the annual cycle is important for their survival, reproduction, and population dynamics. However, the annual cycles of many wild, mobile animals are difficult to observe and our understanding of how individuals balance their energy budgets throughout the year therefore rem...
Article
Full-text available
Migration is a widespread strategy for escaping unfavourable conditions during winter, but the extent to which populations that segregate during the breeding season aggregate during the non-breeding season is poorly understood. Low non-breeding season aggregation may be associated with higher likelihood of overlap with threats, but with fewer popul...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Understanding patterns in the abundance of species across thermal ranges can give useful insights into the potential impacts of climate change. The abundant‐centre hypothesis suggests that species will reach peak abundance at the centre of their thermal range where conditions are optimal, but evidence in support of this hypothesis is mixed and...
Poster
Full-text available
Citizen scientists play an important role in generating extensive data sets on marine environments and their associated flora and fauna. However, errors resulting from misidentification and over/underestimation of abundances may reduce the accuracy of these data sets and consequently, perceptions regarding data validity are one of the greatest chal...
Data
S1. Seabird species selection process; Figure S2. FMR values and jackknife estimates; Table S3. Model outputs.
Conference Paper
Capturing Our Coast leads on from the success of the Big Sea Survey, a citizen science project piloted in the North-East UK. Volunteers are given standardised training and ongoing support in order to return robust data on rocky shore ecosystems across the UK. Replicable protocols allow data to be collected on sets of species chosen specifically to...

Network

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Projects

Projects (2)
Archived project
Energy is the central currency that drives biological processes at every hierarchical level of life and maintaining an energetic balance is therefore integral to an animal’s survival. For iteroparous species, investigating how they manage their energy budgets throughout the annual cycle, in the face of seasonally varying intrinsic and extrinsic drivers, is critical to understanding the viability of populations. Although studying year-round energetics has previously been challenging, advances in biologging technology increasingly help to provide novel insights. Seabirds are a frequently investigated taxon within biologging studies; they are top marine predators that are often wide-ranging and many species are of high conservation concern due to a multitude of anthropogenic threats. However, despite an accumulation of knowledge regarding seabird movement and behaviour during their breeding seasons, our understanding of their year-round energetics remains fragmented. Within this thesis I therefore use a range of biologging and analytical approaches to investigate seabird behaviour and energetics throughout different key phases of the year, as well as across the entire annual cycle. Initially, using a global, multi-species, meta-analytical approach, I identify the large-scale drivers of seabird energetics during the breeding period. I demonstrate that seabird energy expenditure increases across the breeding season and also that it is higher for larger birds living at more extreme latitudes. I then focus on the North Atlantic marine ecosystem and compare the diving behaviour of common guillemots Uria aalge, razorbills Alca torda and Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica during the period following the breeding season. Using biologging data, I identify interspecific, sex-specific and temporal differences in key dive metrics, driven by differences in body mass, post-breeding strategy and environmental conditions. Next, I combine both biologging data and statistical modelling approaches to focus on temporal changes in the behaviour and energetics of common guillemots. I illustrate that seasonal variation in thermoregulatory costs, diving activity, colony attendance and associated flight all drive guillemot energy expenditure. Finally, I identify temporal and spatial patterns in year-round body mass, subsequent susceptibility to mortality and energy gain. By examining the year-round energetics of seabirds I have therefore been able to develop a more mechanistic understanding of the links between seabird behaviour, energetics and survival in the face of seasonal environmental variability. Due to my focus on energetics, these findings have conservation and management implications; I demonstrate novel approaches to not only increase our understanding of the year-round food requirements of the world’s seabirds, but also the potential to identify times and locations throughout the year where seabirds might be susceptible to threats that may impede their survival.