Senior Research Ecologist
Chris's 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. He takes a central role in conducting and developing marine research projects at BTO.
Interests & Responsibilities
Chris's 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. He 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. Chris is also involved in environmental impace assessments of renewable energy developments on waterbird and seabird populations. He is 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.
Chris has a broad interest in the natural sciences with a research background in seabird ecology. He has a keen interest in seabird foraging behaviour, population ecology, and life-history environment interactions. He is an ordinary Member of the Seabird Group, and am a guest lecturer as part of BSc and MSc University modules.
QualificationsBSc (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.
Recent BTO Publications2021. Foraging habitat selection by breeding Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) from a declining coastal colony in the United Kingdom. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 261 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2021.107564) 8pp 2021. Assessing movements of Lesser Black-backed Gulls using GPS tracking devices in relation to the Walney Extension and Burbo Bank Extension Offshore Wind Farms. Research Report no. 738. ISBN: 978-1-912642-27-4 2021. When speed matters: The importance of flight speed in an avian collision risk model. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 90 Elsevier View at journal website (DOI: 10.1016/j.eiar.2021.106622) 2021. Dynamic space use of Andalusian rice fields by Lesser Black-Backed Gulls (Larus fuscus) is driven by flooding. Ibis View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12968) 2021. Spatial patterns of weed dispersal by wintering gulls within and beyond an agricultural landscape. Journal of Ecology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13619) 2021. Long‐distance migrants vary migratory behaviour as much as short‐distance migrants: an individual‐level comparison from a seabird species with diverse migration strategies. Journal of Animal Ecology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.13431) 13pp
Other PublicationsThaxter, C.B., Redfern, C.P.F. & Bevan, R.M. 2006. Survival rates of adult Reed Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus at a northern and southern site in England. Ringing & Migration 23 : 65-79 View Abstract
Content Related to Chris Thaxter
Herring Gulls aren't after your chips
New BTO research using GPS tracking reveals that declining Herring Gulls are more likely to be foraging on Mussels than pilfering chips.