Publications for Dr Aly McCluskie

An investigation of the effects of GPS tagging on the behaviour of black-legged kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla

The deployment of animal-borne tracking devices has revolutionised the study of animal behaviour, providing the opportunity to understand aspects of animal movement, physiology and ecology that were previously difficult to study. Such advances have been particularly important in the study of seabirds where the introduction of GPS tagging has allowed researchers to track the movement and behaviour of individuals while they are at sea. However, it is widely recognized that the negative effects associated with tag instrumentation on animal behaviour cannot be completely avoided and needed to be considered when using tracking data. For example, tagging an individual may lead to changes in its behaviour causing it to act atypically, which casts doubt upon any biological interpretation that arises from such data. In order to design studies in which the effect of tagging on behaviour is minimized researchers have typically sought to use the lightest tags available. Researchers have often used one of two commonly encountered rules-of-thumb that 1) a tag should not exceed 5% of the body mass of the tagged animal; or 2) a tag should not exceed 3% of the body mass of the tagged animal. However, there is little evidence supporting these general rules and it has been recommended that tagging studies provide some empirical examination of the potential effects of tagging when possible.

Here, we investigate the effect of GPS-tagging on the behaviour of black-legged kittiwakes, Rissa tridactyla, that were tagged during the breeding season across multiple UK colonies in the North Sea as part of the RSPB FAME / STAR tracking project.

Date
12 October 2020
RSPB Authors
Dr Aly McCluskie, Dr Ellie Owen, Saskia Wischnewski, Dr Linda Wilson, Dr Lucy Wright, Dr Mark Bolton
Published in
RSPB Technical Report
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Diversionary feeding and nestling diet of Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus

Capsule: Diversionary feeding reduced Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus nestlings' natural food intake by half. Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus scotica chicks constituted 0-4% of all nestling food items. Annually, this reduced annual grouse chick production by 0-6%.Aim: To quantify proportions of diversionary and natural food...

Date
01 October 2018
RSPB Authors
Dr Aly McCluskie
Authors
Ludwig, S.C., McCluskie, A., Keane, P., Barlow, C., Francksen, R.M., Bubb, D., Roos, S., Aebischer, N.J. & Baines, D.
Published in
Bird Study 65 (4): 431-443
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Lack of sound science in assessing wind-farm impacts on seabirds

Introduction: Electrical power generation from wind farms has grown rapidly in the UK and European Union (EU) in the last decade and is set to grow further. By 2020, the EU proposes to source 20% of energy from renewable sources ...

Date
19 July 2016
RSPB Authors
Prof Rhys Green, Dr Aly McCluskie, Prof Jeremy Wilson
Authors
Green, R.E., Langston, R.H.W., McCluskie, A., Sutherland, R. & Wilson, J.D.
Published in
Journal of Applied Ecology
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Resolving issues with environmental impact assessment of marine renewable energy installations

Growing concerns about climate change and energy security have fueled a rapid increase in the development of marine renewable energy installations (MREIs). The potential ecological consequences of increased use of these devices emphasizes the need for high quality...

Date
16 December 2014
RSPB Authors
Dr Aly McCluskie
Authors
Maclean, I.M.D., Inger, R., Benson, D., Booth, C.G., Embling, C.B., Grecian, W.J., Heymans, J.J., Plummer, K.E., Shackshaft, M., Sparling, C.E., Wilson, B., Wright, L.J., Bradbury, G., Christen, N., Godley, B.J., JAckson, A.C., McCluskie, A., Nicholls-Lee, R. & Bearhop, S.
Published in
Frontiers in Marine Science
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Renewable energy developments in an uncertain world: The case of offshore wind and birds in the UK

As governments pledge to invest in reducing carbon emissions, they are increasingly focussing on renewable-energy solutions, to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, though the environmental effects of such developments remain highly...

Date
07 September 2014
RSPB Authors
Dr Ellie Owen, Dr Rowena Langston, Dr Aly McCluskie
Authors
Masden, E.A., McCluskie, A., Owen, E. & Langston, R.H.W.
Published in
Marine Policy
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Ranging behaviour of hen harriers breeding in Special Protection Areas in Scotland

Breeding female Hen Harriers hunted mostly within 1 km from the nest and males mostly within 2 km. To quantify temporal and spatial variation in home-range sizes and hunting distances of breeding male and female Hen Harriers. We radio...

Date
17 January 2014
RSPB Authors
Dr Aly McCluskie
Authors
Arroyo, B., Leckie, F., Amar, A., McCluskie, A. & Redpath, S.
Published in
Bird Study
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Birds and wave & tidal stream energy: an ecological review

The UK government has a target for sourcing 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020. A significant component of this is likely to be produced by wave and tidal stream energy convertors. At present a total of over 30 such projects in UK waters are under operation, testing or development, and large scale investment is being made into the development of suitable technology. Once the technology is developed there will be an influx of applications for the installation and operation of arrays of wave and tidal stream devices, but these will have as yet undetermined impacts on the marine environment. An important component of this environment is seabirds and the UK hosts a seabird assemblage of outstanding international importance. This review is a response to the lack of knowledge on how these emerging technologies will impact on this assemblage, as well as some other potentially affected species, and it aims to use an ecological approach to understand the potential nature of these impacts. Currently, there is very limited experience of operational wave and tidal stream devices at sea, and hence very little information about their impacts on marine birds. It is therefore necessary to only make inferences about potential impacts from a theoretical background, based on review of current technological and ecological knowledge.

Date
01 January 2013
RSPB Authors
Dr Aly McCluskie, Nick Wilkinson
Authors
Langston R.H.W
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