Senior Research Ecologist, Wetland and Marine Research
My principal role is undertaking research into changes in the abundance and foraging behaviour of seabirds and waterbirds in relation to both man-made impacts and environmental processes. I take a central role in conducting and developing marine research projects at the BTO.
BSc (Hons) Geography, University of Reading, 1999-2002.
MSc Wildlife Conservation and Management, University of Newcastle, 2002-2003.
PhD Foraging and Breeding Ecology of Guillemots and Razorbills, University of Leeds, 2005-2008.
Research Interests / Responsibilities
My post entails a broad spectrum of research projects. Current key research includes the use of bird-borne logging devices to understand foraging behaviour, distribution and interaction of seabirds with offshore windfarms. I recently completed a review into the foraging ranges of UK breeding seabirds with a view to such data being used as a preliminary tool in identifying candidate marine protected areas (MPAs). Recent work has also explored the use of sea-watching data for monitoring the non-breeding movements of species past our coasts. I am also involved in environmental impace assessments of renewable energy developments on waterbird and seabird populations. I am involved in numerous other projects investigating the impacting of offshore developments on birds, and have previously completed a review of the use high definition imagery technology for surveying seabirds and marine mammals.
I have a broad interest in the natural sciences with a research background in seabird ecology. I have a keen interest in seabird foraging behaviour, population ecology, and life-history environment interactions. I am an ordinary Member of the Seabird Group, and am a guest lecturer as part of BSc and MSc University modules.
- Ross-Smith, V.H., Thaxter, C.B., Masden, E.A., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Burton, N.H.K., Wright, L.J., Rehfisch, M.M. & Johnston, A. 2016. Modelling flight heights of lesser black-backed gulls and great skuas from GPS: a Bayesian approach. Journal of Applied Ecology doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12760.
- Thaxter, C.B., Ross-Smith, V.H., Clark, J.A., Clark, N.A., Conway, G.J., Masden, E.A., Wade, H.M., Leat, E.H.K., Gear, S.C., Marsh, M., Booth, C., Furness, R.W., Votier, S.C. & Burton, N.H.K. 2015. Contrasting effects of GPS device and harness attachment on adult survival of Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus and Great Skuas Stercorarius skua.Ibis 158 (2), 279-290.
- Jovani, R., Lascelles, B., Garamszegi, L.Z., Mavor, R., Thaxter, C.B. & Oro, D. 2015. Colony size and foraging range in seabirds. Oikos, doi: 10.1111/oik.02781.
- Skov, H., Heinänen, S., Thaxter, C.B., Williams, A.E., Lohier, S. & Banks, A.N. 2015. Real-time species distribution models for conservation and management of natural resources in marine environments. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 542, 221-234. doi: 10.3354/meps11572.
- Thaxter, C.B., Ross-Smith, V.H., Bouten, W., Rehfisch, M.M., Clark, N.A., Conway, G.J. & Burton, N.H.K. 2015. Seabird-wind farm interactions during the breeding season vary within and between years. Biological Conservation 186, 347-358.
- Thaxter, C.B., Ross-Smith, V.H., Clark, J., Clark, N.A., Conway, G.J., Marsh, M., Leat, E.H.K & Burton, N.H.K. 2014. A trial of three harness attachment methods and their suitability for long-term use on Lesser Black-backed Gull and Great Skua. Ringing & Migration 29 (2): 65-76. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03078698.2014.995546.
- Johnston, A., Thaxter, C.B., Austin, G.E., Cook, A.S.C.P., Humphreys, E.M., Still, D.A., Mackay, A., Irvine, R., Webb, A. & Burton, N.H.K. 2014. Modelling the abundance and distribution of marine birds accounting for uncertain species identification.Journal of Applied Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12364.
- Wade, H.M., Masden, E.A., Jackson, A.C., Thaxter, C.B., Burton, N.H.K., Bouten, W. & Furness, R.W. 2014. Great skua (Stercorarius skua) movements at sea in relation to marine renewable energy developments. Marine Environmental Research, 101, 69-80.
- Thaxter, C.B., Ross-Smith, V.H., Clark, N.A., Conway, G.J., Johnston, A., Wade, H.M., Masden, E.A., Bouten, W. & Burton, N.H.K. 2014. Measuring the Interaction Between Marine Features of Special Protection Areas with Offshore Wind Farm Development Sites Through Telemetry: Final Report to DECC, BTO Research Report 649.
- Thaxter, C.B., Daunt, F., Grémillet, D., Harris, M.P., Benvenuti, A., Watanuki, Y., Hamer, K.C. & Wanless, S. 2013. Modelling the effects of prey size and distribution on prey capture rates of two sympatric marine predators. PLOS ONE, 8, e79915. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079915.
- Johnston, A., Ausden, M., Dodd, A.M. Bradbury, R.B., Chamberlain, D.E., Jiguet , F., Thomas, C.D., Cook, A.S.C.P., Newson, S.E., Ockendon, N., Rehfisch, M.M., Roos, S., Thaxter, C.B., Brown, A., Crick, H.Q.P., Douse, A., McCall, R.A., Pontier, H., Stroud, D.A., Cadiou, B., Crowe, O., Deceuninck, B., Hornman, M. & Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2013. Oberved and predicted effects of climate change on species abundance in protected areas. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/climate2035.
- Thaxter, C.B., Lascelles, B., Sugar, K., Cook, A.S.C.P., Roos, S., Bolton, M., Langston, R.H.W. & Burton, N.H.K. 2012. Seabird Foraging Ranges as a Preliminary Tool for Identifying Candidate Marine Protected Areas. Biological Conservation 156: 53-61.
- Maclean, I.M.D., Rehfisch, M.M., Skov, H. & Thaxter C.B. 2012. Evaluating the statistical power of detecting changes in the abundance of seabirds at sea. Ibis, 155: 113-126.
- Thaxter, C.B., Ross-Smith, V.H., Clark, N.A., Conway, G.J., Wade, H., Masden, E.A., Rehfisch, M.M., Bouten, M.M. & Burton, N.H.K. 2012. Measuring the interaction between marine features of Special Protection Areas with offshore windfarm development zones through telemetry: second year report. BTO Research Report No. 610 to DECC. BTO, Thetford.
- Thaxter, C.B., Johnston, A., Cook, A.S.C.P., & Burton, N.H.K. 2011. Review of statistical techniques to model the at-sea distributions of breeding terns. BTO Research Report 582.
- Burton, N.H.K., Thaxter, C.B., Cook, A.S.C.P., Austin, G.E., Wright, L.J. & Clark, N.A. 2010. Evaluating the potential impacts of tidal power schemes on estuarine waterbirds. BOU Proceedings – Climate Change and Birds. http://www.bou.org.uk/bouproc-net/ccb/burton-etal.pdf
- Thaxter, C.B., Joys, A., Gregory, R., Baillie, S.R., & Noble, D.N. 2010. Hypotheses to explain patterns of population change among breeding bird species in England. Biological Conservation, 143: 2006-2019.
- Thaxter, C.B., Wanless, S., Daunt, F., Harris, M.P., Benvenuti, S., Watanuki, Y., Grémillet, D., & Hamer, K.C. 2010. Influence of wing loading on trade-off between pursuit-diving and flight in common guillemots and razorbills Journal of Experimental Biology 213: 1018-1025.
- Thaxter, C.B. & Burton, N.H.K. 2009. High Definition Imagery for Surveying Seabirds and Marine Mammals: A Review of Recent Trials and Development of Protocols. British Trust for Ornithology Report Commissioned by Cowrie Ltd.
- Thaxter, C.B., Daunt, F., Hamer, K.C., Watanuki, Y., Harris, M.P., Grémillet, D., Peters, G. & Wanless, S. 2009. Sex-specific food provisioning in a monomorphic seabird, the common guillemot Uria aalge: nest defence, foraging efficiency or parental effort? Journal of Avian Biology 40: 75-84.
- Thaxter, C.B., Redfern, C.P.R. & Bevan, R.M. 2005. Survival rates of adult Reed Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus at a northern and southern site in England. Ringing & Migration 23: 65-79.
Email: chris.thaxter [at] bto.org
Telephone: 01842 750050
Fax: 01842 750030
Postal address: British Trust for Ornithology, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU, UK.