Viola Ross-Smith

Science Communications Manager

Viola Ross-Smith

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 been working full-time in science communications since 2015. Before then, she was a seabird ecologist for several years, and honed her communcation skills tackling inaccurate coverage of gulls in the media. She holds a BTO C permit for bird ringing. Viola has also worked in campaigns for RSPB, in gibbon conservation in Thailand, and in policy for the European Institutions in Brussels.

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
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

Other Publications

Ross-Smith, V.H., Johnston, A. & Ferns, P.N. 2015. Hatching success in Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus - an island case study of the effects of egg and nest site quality. Seabird 28: 1-16.

Ross-Smith, V.H., Conway, G.J., Facey, R.J., Bailey, B.H., Lipton, M., Whitfield, S.A. & Ferns, P.N. 2013. Population size, ecology and movements of gulls breedingon Flat Holm Island. Birds in Wales 10:7-21.

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


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