Ursula Ellenberg

Ursula Ellenberg
La Trobe University · Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution

PhD University of Otago

About

76
Publications
31,443
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Introduction
Ecologist with keen interest and broad background in both terrestrial and marine systems. Focus on analysing human-wildlife interactions. Research emphasis on applied ecophysiology, behavioural ecology, conservation biology, and wildlife management. More than 20 years of experience coordinating fieldwork and leading research projects in Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Canada, Germany, the Russian and Norwegian Arctic.

Publications

Publications (76)
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is a global issue with effects that are difficult to manage at a regional scale. Yet more often than not climate factors are just some of multiple stressors affecting species on a population level. Non-climatic factors—especially those of anthropogenic origins—may play equally important roles with regard to impacts on species and are...
Chapter
Full-text available
The world loves penguins. Their toddler-like, bipedal gait and general demeanor endear them to humans. When watching them struggling across rocky shorelines with their stumpy little legs, you want to reach out and help them. But penguins don’t need such help, quite the opposite in fact. Several penguin species are adversely affected by human visita...
Article
Full-text available
Camera loggers are increasingly used to examine behavioural aspects of free-ranging animals. However, often video loggers are deployed with a focus on specific behavioural traits utilizing small cameras with a limited field of view, poor light performance and video quality. Yet rapid developments in consumer electronics provide new devices with muc...
Article
Full-text available
Penguins face a wide range of threats. Most observed population changes have been negative and have happened over the last 60 years. Today, populations of 11 of the 18 penguin species are decreasing. Here we present a review that synthesizes details of threats faced by the world’s 18 species of penguins. We discuss alterations to their environment...
Article
The endangered, endemic Yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) is one of the flagship species for New Zealand's wildlife tourism, and recently concern has been raised that tourism-related pressures may be becoming too great. We compared two neighbouring breeding areas exposed to different levels of human disturbance. Penguins at the site expose...
Article
Full-text available
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
Full-text available
The endangered yellow-eyed penguin/hoiho (Megadyptes antipodes) predominantly forages benthically within its mainland range and shows high foraging site fidelity. Identifying consistencies in foraging locations can allow effective conservation, especially when managing bycatch risk. This study investigated the at-sea distribution of penguins breedi...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Between November 2020 and July 2021, foraging of hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins from three different breeding locations on and around Rakiura/Stewart Island was studied using GPS dive loggers, satellite trackers, and animal-borne cameras to establish the penguins’ utilisation of their local marine habitats. The sites ranged from southern Rakiura (Port...
Article
Full-text available
Mechanisms promoting coexistence between closely related species are fundamental for maintaining species diversity. Mechanisms of niche differentiation include allochrony which offsets the peak timing of resource utilisation between species. Many studies focus on spatial and temporal niche partitioning during the breeding season, few have investiga...
Article
Full-text available
Fiordland crested penguins (tawaki; Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) lack sexually dimorphic plumage so behavioural cues or bill size have traditionally been used to determine sex in the field. We aimed to identify morphological characters that can be quickly and reliably be measured in the field to accurately sex adult tawaki, and validated these with gene...
Technical Report
Full-text available
After completing its first phase (2014-2019), that compared the marine ecology and breeding success of tawaki across their distributional range, the Tawaki Project entered the second phase in the 2019/2020 breeding season. Our previous work not only found that tawaki are extremely versatile in their foraging behaviour which allows them to thrive in...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins have undergone significant declines on the New Zealand mainland since the late 1990s. Ongoing ocean warming has been identified as a main cause, although it only partially explains observed reduction in penguin numbers. Particularly fisheries impacts are suspected to contribute significantly to the decline. Besides degrad...
Technical Report
Full-text available
In the breeding season 2019, the Tawaki Project completed its sixth field season and entered a new phase of research. The first five years of the project examined how the species’ foraging ecology and population dynamics varied across the entire tawaki breeding distribution, i.e. West Coast, Fiordland and the Foveaux Strait region. The project’s r...
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
Climate shifts are key drivers of ecosystem change. Despite the critical importance of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean for global climate, the extent of climate-driven ecological change in this region remains controversial. In particular, the biological effects of changing sea ice conditions are poorly understood. We hypothesize that rapid postgl...
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...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Since 2014, the Tawaki Project has been studying the foraging behaviour, reproductive success and population developments of Fiordland penguins/tawaki across the species’ breeding range. Starting in 2016, the project operated at three sites representing the penguins diverse foraging habitat: Jackson Head on the West Coast, Harrison Cove, Milford So...
Article
Human impacts have substantially reduced avian biodiversity in many parts of the world, particularly on isolated islands of the Pacific Ocean. The New Zealand archipelago, including its five subantarctic island groups, holds breeding grounds for a third of the world's penguin species, including several representatives of the diverse crested penguin...
Article
Full-text available
Migratory species often roam vast distances bringing them into contact with diverse conditions and threats that could play significant roles in their population dynamics. This is especially true if long-range travels occur within crucial stages of a species’ annual life-cycle. Crested penguins, for example, usually disperse over several hundreds of...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The fourth year of the Tawaki Project has been the most ambitious in terms of scope of research questions that were addressed. Over the first three years, the project slowly ramped up from working at one (Jackson Head/West Coast), then two (Milford Sound/Piopiotahi), and finally three sites (Codfish Island/Whenua Hou) simultaneously to study how br...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Even though the mainland population of Yellow-eyed penguins represents the most studied group of penguins in New Zealand, information about their prey composition is scarce. The bulk of the work to date has been conducted in the mid-1980s and early 1990s with more recent dietary information being very limited. However, data at hand suggest that a s...
Preprint
Full-text available
The breeding routines and foraging behaviour of many pelagic seabird species is influenced by environmental factors. Seasonality greatly affects the temporal prey availability for many marine species while the spatial distribution of prey often correlates to oceanographic features. We examined the influence of such environmental factors on the nest...
Preprint
Full-text available
The breeding routines and foraging behaviour of many pelagic seabird species is influenced by environmental factors. Seasonality greatly affects the temporal prey availability for many marine species while the spatial distribution of prey often correlates to oceanographic features. We examined the influence of such environmental factors on the nest...
Preprint
Full-text available
Migratory species often roam vast distances bringing them into contact with diverse conditions and threats that could play significant roles in their population dynamics. This is especially true if long-range travels occur within crucial stages of a species’ annual life-cycle. Crested penguins, for example, usually disperse over several hundreds of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Migratory species often roam vast distances bringing them into contact with diverse conditions and threats that could play significant roles in their population dynamics. This is especially true if long-range travels occur within crucial stages of a species’ annual life-cycle. Crested penguins, for example, usually disperse over several hundreds of...
Article
Full-text available
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...
Chapter
Full-text available
The goal of this book is to empower operators, regulators, and tourists to find the critical balance between possibly damaging consequences of wildlife tourism and the potential benefits to the local human communities, ecosystems, and the wildlife themselves. It is essential to realize that ecotourism is frequently more environmentally friendly tha...
Chapter
Full-text available
The more people lose contact with nature in their daily lives, the greater the need to compensate for this loss through nature-based recreation and ecotourism. However, these tourist activities are often not without consequences for animals. The mere presence of humans can affect resident wildlife. Short-term changes in physiology and behavior may...
Data
ESM4—Correlation matrices for model parametrization
Data
ESM3—Posterior distributions for all three prio configurations
Preprint
Climate change is a global issue with effects that are difficult to manage at a regional scale. Yet more often than not climate factors are just some of multiple stressors affecting species on a population level. Non-climatic factors - especially those of anthropogenic origins - may play equally important roles with regard to impacts on species and...
Preprint
Full-text available
1. Camera loggers are increasingly used to examine behavioural aspects of free-ranging animals. However, often video loggers are deployed with a focus on specific behavioural traits utilizing small cameras with a limited field of view, poor light performance and video quality. Yet rapid developments in consumer electronics provide new devices with...
Preprint
Full-text available
1. Camera loggers are increasingly used to examine behavioural aspects of free-ranging animals. However, often video loggers are deployed with a focus on specific behavioural traits utilizing small cameras with a limited field of view, poor light performance and video quality. Yet rapid developments in consumer electronics provide new devices with...
Preprint
Full-text available
Camera loggers are increasingly used to examine behavioural aspects of free-ranging animals. However, often video loggers are deployed with a focus on specific behavioural traits for which it suffices to use cameras that are small but often have a limited field of view, poor light performance and video quality. Yet the rapid developments in consume...
Article
Full-text available
The recent development of miniaturised saltwater immersion geolocators has made it possible to track and record activity of even the smallest seabird species over extended periods of time. The resulting activity data comprise of various timestamps and immersion times integrated over 10 minute intervals. Generally, such data sets are large and compl...
Article
Full-text available
Long-term population monitoring has become an important tool for conservation management and indicator of environmental change. In many species nest counts are used as an index of population numbers. A pilot study using double-counts in Fiordland crested penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus) found that up to 12% of nests had failed following the first...
Article
Cumulative human impacts across the world's oceans are considerable. We therefore examined a single model taxonomic group, the penguins (Spheniscidae), to explore how marine species and communities might be at risk of decline or extinction in the southern hemisphere. We sought to determine the most important threats to penguins and to suggest means...
Article
Cumulative human impacts across the world’s oceans are considerable. We therefore examined a single model taxonomic group, the penguins (Spheniscidae), to explore how marine species and communities might be at risk of decline or extinction in the southern hemisphere. We sought to determine the most important threats to penguins and to suggest means...
Article
ABSTRACT Cumulative human impacts across the world’s oceans are considerable. We therefore examined a single model taxonomic group, the penguins (Spheniscidae), to explore how marine species and communities might be at risk of decline or extinction in the southern hemisphere. We sought to determine the most important threats to penguins and to sugg...
Article
Full-text available
Free-ranging marine predators rarely search for prey along straight lines because dynamic ocean processes usually require complex search strategies. If linear movement patterns occur they are usually associated with travelling events or migratory behaviour. However, recent fine scale tracking of flying seabirds has revealed straight-line movements...
Article
Full-text available
Intuition is a poor guide for evaluating the effects of human disturbance on wildlife. Using the endangered Yellow-eyed penguin, Megadyptes antipodes, as an example, we show that heart rate responses provide an objective tool to evaluate human disturbance stimuli and encourage the wider use of this simple and low-impact approach. Yellow-eyed pengui...
Chapter
Penguins Natural History and Conservation Edited by Pablo Garcia Borboroglu and P. Dee Boersma Published: June 2013 Subject Listing: Natural History, Birds Bibliographic information: 360 pp., 200 color illus., 20 maps, 86 tables Territorial rights: World Series: A Samuel and Althea Stroum Book Penguins, among the most delightful creatures in the...
Article
Full-text available
Historically, little contact with humans makes the Snares Penguin, Eudyptes robustus, an ideal species to study the natural response of penguins to human proximity. We measured behavioural and heart rate (HR) responses of Snares Penguins to a range of stimuli commonly occurring at their breeding sites and to experimental human disturbance. While be...
Article
Full-text available
Population monitoring of seabirds plays an important role in conservation since it provides the information required to evaluate conservation programmes of endangered species, to guide harvest management and to monitor indicators of marine ecosystem health. Annual nest counts are often used for the long-term monitoring of breeding seabird populatio...
Book
Full-text available
The yellow-eyed penguin is endemic to New Zealand and is one of two penguin species with the most fragile conservation status on the planet. It is a long-lived species and population viability analysis shows that even a small increase in adult mortality augments extinction probability dramatically. The yellow-eyed penguin population on the New Zeal...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The yellow-eyed penguin is endemic to New Zealand and is one of two penguin species with the most fragile conservation status on the planet. It is a long-lived species and population viability analysis shows that even a small increase in adult mortality augments extinction probability dramatically. The yellow-eyed penguin population on the New Zeal...
Chapter
Full-text available
Mainstream tourism eco-certification programmes focus with varying success on "brown" aspects of environmental management, such as energy efficiency, resource consumption and waste treatment, whereas the impacts of tourism on "green" aspects, i.e. on the species and habitats that attracted nature-based tourism in the first place, are still largely...
Thesis
You can download my thesis at: https://ourarchive.otago.ac.nz/handle/10523/3647 Nature conservation places great hopes on ecotourism, yet despite increasing pressure on the Earth's last wild areas, there is insufficient knowledge about human disturbance impact, and hence, visitor management must often remain inadequate. Penguins are an important to...
Thesis
You can download my thesis at https://ourarchive.otago.ac.nz/handle/10523/3647 Nature conservation places great hopes on ecotourism, yet despite increasing pressure on the Earth's last wild areas, there is insufficient knowledge about human disturbance impact, and hence, visitor management must often remain inadequate. Penguins are an important t...
Article
Full-text available
Animal populations are increasingly challenged by anthropogenic environmental changes. Species, populations and individuals vary in their ability to cope with exposure to human proximity. However, little is known about what drives habituation or sensitization in wild populations. Via behavioural observations and heart rate telemetry during experime...
Article
This book seeks to underscore the need for scientific approaches to first understanding and then managing tourist interactions with marine wildlife. It draws upon the work of leading natural and social scientists whose work serves the interests of sustainable wildlife-based marine tourism. Thus from within the natural science disciplines of marine...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The numbers of the endangered Yellow-eyed penguins on New Zealand’s third largest island, Stewart Island, have been declining considerably over last four years, primarily as a result of low reproductive success. Interestingly, Yellow-eyed penguins on adjacent Codfish Island seem to flourish. Here, high nest densities and high reproductive success i...
Article
Full-text available
Yellow-eyed penguins Megadyptes antipodes seemingly forage at discrete marine locations over the continental shelf, where they are believed to feed predominantly at the seafloor. Such behaviour would distinguish them from most other penguin species that generally employ pelagic foraging strategies. From 2003 to 2005 we studied the foraging behaviou...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last decade the Humboldt penguin, Spheniscus humboldti, has become a focus for ecotourism. Current management applies visitor guidelines similar to those developed for Magellanic penguins, Spheniscus magellanicus. However, unlike these, Humboldt penguins are extremely sensitive to human presence. Breeding success was significantly reduced...
Article
Full-text available
While Isla Chañaral (29°02’S) in Chile has long been recognized as one of the most important breeding islands for the Humboldt Penguin, the reported numbers of birds there never exceeded 3,500 breeding individuals in the last two decades. However, in 2002, a one-day survey found considerably more penguins present on Isla Chañaral, which exceed the...
Article
Full-text available
Between 1999 and 2003 we collected information on the breeding distribution and abundance of 12 seabird species occurring on nine islands off the coasts of north and central Chile (27°-33° S). The Peruvian booby Sula variegata was the most abundant seabird with a breeding population of ca. 18,000 pairs concentrated in two islands, followed by the H...