MacArthur Green’s auk research project has been selected as part of a multi-million pound research programme based in Aberdeen Bay.
Funded by the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, run by Vattenfall, these projects will put Scotland at the forefront of research and development in the industry.
Bob Furness and Mark Trinder will be measuring connectivity between auk special protection area populations and offshore wind farms, and tracking the non-breeding season movements of adult auks. The project aims to demonstrate that this could reduce future uncertainty in impact assessments and improve understanding of how auks engage and co-exist with Offshore Wind Farms. This project will fund a PhD student to work with the research team.
Professor Furness (Principal Ornithologist at MacArthur Green) said,
‘It is very exciting to be able to deploy tags on guillemots and razorbills to learn about their migration routes and wintering areas. Until now, our knowledge of their migrations has mainly come from recoveries of ringed birds found dead on beaches in winter, which can give a very biased picture. This project will allow us to track the routes used by birds, and which areas they spend time in throughout the winter.
We are particularly interested to find out if these migrations differ between birds from different colonies, and whether individuals use different areas from year to year or consistently go back to favourite locations. That knowledge will not only help in assessment of the impacts of offshore wind farms but will also help us understand how best to conserve these internationally important seabird populations that are an iconic part of Scotland’s wildlife heritage’.