Viola Ross-Smith

Viola Ross-Smith

Job Description

Science Communications Manager


Viola is responsible for promoting BTO science. She also edits BTO News and helps to manage BTO social media.


BA (Hons) Natural Sciences (Zoology), University of Cambridge 2002
PhD Pecking response in Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks Larus fuscus, Cardiff University 2009

Interests & Responsibilities

Viola has a strong interest in seabirds, their behaviour, ecology and life history adaptations. She holds a BTO C permit for bird ringing, and coordinates gull nest counting and colour ringing on Flat Holm Island SSSI (part of the Severn Estuary Ramsar and SPA). She worked as a Research Ecologist in the BTO's Wetland and Marine Team before being appointed to her current position. Aside from ornithology and communications, Viola is interested in policy, having worked in this field for the European Institutions in Brussels and the RSPB.

Recent BTO Publications

Thaxter, C.B., Ross-Smith, V.H., Bouten, W., Masden, E.A., Clark, N.A., Conway, G.J., Barber, L., Clewley, G.D. & Burton, N.H.K. 2018. Dodging the blades: new insights into three-dimensional space use of offshore wind farms by lesser black-backed gulls Larus fuscus. Marine Ecology Progress Series 587 : 247-253 View at journal website (DOI: 10.3354/meps12415)
Thaxter, C.B., Clark, N.A., Ross-Smith, V.H., Conway, G.J., Bouten, W. & Burton, N.K.H. 2017. Sample size required to characterize area use of tracked seabirds . The Journal of Wildlife Management Wiley Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21283) 12pp PDF icon Download Report (916.25 KB)
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 53 (part 6) View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12760)
Rock, P., Camphuysen, C.J., Shamoun-Baranes, J., Ross-Smith, V.H. & Vaughan, I.P. 2016. Results from the first GPS tracking of roof-nesting Herring Gulls Larus argentatus in the UK. Ringing & Migration 31 (part 1) Link to publication View at journal website (DOI: 10.1080/03078698.2016.1197698)
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. 2016. 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 (part 2) : 279-290 View at journal website (DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12340)
Chris B. Thaxter, Viola H. Ross-Smith & Aonghais S C P Cook 2016. How high do birds fly? A review of current datasets and an appraisal of current methodologies for collecting flight height data: Literature review . Research Report no. 666. 66pp PDF icon Download Report (787.62 KB)

Other publications

Ferns, P.N. & Ross-Smith, V.H. 2009. Function of coloured bill tips, stripes and spots in breeding gulls. Marine Ornithology 37: 85-92.