Zoe Deakin

Conservation Scientist


My research focuses on identifying threats to seabirds, through monitoring at colonies and using tracking technologies to understand how they use of the marine environment.

Much of my recent work has been on the ecology and behaviour of burrow-nesting, nocturnally active species, including the potential impacts of offshore wind farm developments.

I am particularly interested in research with an applied focus that can help to identify and provide solutions to seabird conservation problems.

External Activities

  • 2020-2022 Early Career Representative, The Seabird Group
  • 2018-2020 Membership Assistant, The Seabird Group


Zoe Deakin

Conservation Scientist

RSPB Wales Headquarters, Castlebridge 3, 5-19 Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff CF11 9AB



Research Gate

Google Scholar


Identifying problems Marine New methods and technologies UK species

Selected Publications

Decline of Leach’s Storm Petrels Hydrobates leucorhous at the largest colonies in the northeast Atlantic

Leach’s Storm Petrel Hydrobates leucorhous has undergone substantial population declines at North Atlantic colonies over recent decades, but censusing the species is challenging because it nests in burrows and is only active at colonies at night. Acoustic playback surveys allow birds present in nest sites to be detected when they respond to recordings of vocalisations. However, not all birds respond to playback on every occasion, response rate is likely to decline with increasing distance between the bird and the playback location, and the observer may not detect all responses. As a result, various analysis methods have been developed to measure and correct for these imperfect response and detection probabilities. We applied two classes of methods (calibration plot and hierarchical distance sampling) to acoustic survey data from the two largest colonies of breeding Leach’s Storm Petrels in the northeast Atlantic: the St Kilda archipelago off the coast of northwest Scotland, and the island of Elliðaey in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago off the southwest of Iceland. Our results indicate an overall decline of 68% for the St Kilda archipelago between 2000 and 2019, with a current best estimate of ~8,900 (95% CI: 7,800–10,100) pairs. The population on Elliðaey appears to have declined by 40 –49% between 1991 and 2018, with a current best estimate of ~5,400 (95% CI: 4,300–6,700) pairs. We also discuss the relative efficiency and precision of the two survey methods.

01 January 2021
RSPB Authors
Zoe Deakin
Deakin, Zoe Hansen, Erpur Snær Luxmoore, Richard Thomas, Robert J Wood, Matt J Padget, Oliver Medeiros, Renata Aitchison, Rowan Ausden, Malcolm Barnard, Richard
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