Research Areas and Sub-Specialties

Seabird Foraging Ecology

Graduate students collecting diet data at Royal Tern colony on Cape Fear RiverLocal research since 1999 has concentrated on the ecology and foraging behavior of Royal Terns (Sterna maxima) at breeding colonies in the Cape Fear River and along the coast of North Carolina and Virginia. Studies completed so far in this program include the use of radiotelemetry to investigate foraging behavior, analysis of genotoxic exposure in tern blood from pollutants, and studies on the foraging ecology of Royal and Sandwich Terns (S. sandvicensis). Ongoing studies include investigation of adult cohort survival in relation to annual variation in the marine environment, observations of chick feedings by adults to determine diet, correlation of chick diet with fishery stock abundance and chick growth rates, and sex ratios in adult and juvenile terns using blood analyses. Future studies will expand on this research and will include phylogeographic investigations of Royal Terns along the eastern Atlantic seaboard. These studies take place during the summer months from May through July each year.

Faculty researching this area include:

Steven Emslie

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