Niall Burton

Head & Principal Ecologist

Niall manages a team of seven staff undertaking pure and applied research on the UK’s waterbirds and seabirds.

Interests & Responsibilities

As Head of the Wetland and Marine Team, Niall oversees BTO’s research into waterbirds and seabirds, working closely with Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) staff in the BTO's Monitoring Team. The team's research explores the wide range of factors that may affect waterbird and seabird population dynamics, including climate change, habitat change and loss and the impacts of coastal and offshore developments. Niall's personal research work has focussed on assessing how waterbirds (from individuals to groups) respond to disturbance, habitat change and habitat loss.

Other Information

Niall is currently chair of the British Ornithologist's Union (BOU) Meetings Committee and has been a member of the BOU's Council since 2011. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia.

Qualifications

BSc in Physical Geography, Reading University, 1986-1989 MSc in Ecology, University of Durham, 1989-1990 PhD on the roosting behaviour of waders, University of Durham, 1991-1995

Recent BTO Publications

Bowgen, K.M., Wright, L.J., Calbrade, N.A., Coker, D., Dodd, S.G., Hainsworth, I., Howells, R.J., Hughes, D.S., Jenks, P., Murphy, M.D., Sanderson, W.G., Taylor, R.C. & Burton, N.H.K 2022. Resilient protected area network enables species adaptation that mitigates the impact of a crash in food supply. Marine Ecology Progress Series 681 : 211-225 View at journal website (DOI: 10.3354/meps13922) 15pp
Clewley, G.D., Clark, N.A., Thaxter, C.B., Green, R.M., Scragg, E.S. & Burton, N.H.K. 2021. Development of a weak-link wing harness for use on large gulls (Laridae): methodology, evaluation and recommendations. Seabird 33 : 18-34 17pp
Langley, L.P., Bearhop, S., Burton, N.H.K., Banks, A.N., Frayling, T., Thaxter, C., Clewley G., Scragg, E. & Votier, S.C. 2021. GPS tracking reveals landfill closures induce higher foraging effort and habitat switching in gulls. Movement Ecology View at journal website (DOI: 10.1186/s40462-021-00278-2) 13pp
Mander, L., Scapin, L., Thaxter, C.B., Forster, R. & Burton, N.H.K. 2021. Long term changes in the abundance of benthic foraging birds in a restored wetland. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution View at journal website (DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2021.673148) 13pp
Clewley, G. D., Barber, L.J., Conway, G.J., Clark, N.A., Donato, B.J., Thaxter, C.B. & Burton, N.H.K. 2021. 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
Clewley, G.D., Thaxter, C.B., Humphreys, E.M., Scragg, E.S., Bowgen, K.M., Bouten, W., Masden, E.A. & Burton, N.H.K. 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


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