Dr Francis Daunt

Dr Francis Daunt

Seabird Ecologist

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Bush Estate
EH26 0QB 
Tel: +44 (0)131 445 4343
Fax: +44 (0)131 445 3943
E-mail: Dr Francis Daunt


Current work / research interests

My main interests lie in understanding the drivers of change in seabird populations. North Sea seabirds have shown recent population declines, and my research aims to understand the effects of climate change, disease, fisheries and marine energy developments. My approach is to gain a detailed understanding of the intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of individual behaviour and physiology that determine demographic parameters.

I am also interested in understanding the extent to which seabird behaviour and demography can be employed as indicators of marine environmental change. The outcome of this research is being used to assess current and future marine designations (e.g. SPAs, Marine Protected Areas, fishery closures) in safeguarding seabirds.

I coordinate CEH's long-term seabird population study on the Isle of May (IMLOTS).

Brief Curriculum Vitae

  • 2001 - present: Seabird ecologist, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
  • 1997 - 2000: PhD 'Age specific reproductive performance in the shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis', University of Glasgow
  • 1994 - 1996: Marine Scientist, British Antarctic Survey
  • 1992 - 1993: MSc Resource Management, University of Edinburgh
  • 1988-1991: BSc (Hons) Biology, University of Nottingham

Activities and awards

  • Group Leader for Coastal Seas Ecology at CEH
  • Marsh Award for Ornithology (2014)
  • Member: Joint ICES/OSPAR Working group on Seabirds (JWGBIRD), 2014-present
  • Honorary Supervisor, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, 2014-present
  • Member, Meetings Committee, British Ornithologists’ Union, 2013-present
  • Honorary Fellow, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, 2012-present
  • Associate Editor, Ibis, 2010-present
  • Adviser on seabirds, Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership Secretariat (MCCIP), 2010-present
  • Member, UK Seabird Monitoring Programme steering committee, 2009-present
  • Member, ICES Working Group on Seabird Ecology, 2009-2013
  • Member, Marine Alliance for Science & Technology for Scotland (MASTS) Top Predators Theme steering committee, 2009-12

Selected publications

See also the NERC Open Research Archive and a fuller list of publications here [pdf].

Burthe, S., Wanless, S., Newell, M.A., Butler, A. & Daunt, F. (2014) Assessing the vulnerability of the marine bird community in the western North Sea to climate change and other anthropogenic impacts. Marine Ecology Progress Series 507: 277–295

Daunt, F., Reed, T.R., Newell, M., Burthe, S., Phillips, R.A., Lewis, S. & Wanless, S. (2014) Longitudinal bio-logging reveals interplay between extrinsic and intrinsic carry-over effects in a long-lived vertebrate. Ecology 95: 2077-2083

Grist, H., Daunt, F., Wanless, S., Nelson, E.J., Harris, M.P., Newell, M. Burthe, S. & Reid, J.M. (2014) Site fidelity and individual variation in winter location in partially migratory European shags. PLOS One 9: e98562

Bogdanova, M.I., Wanless, S., Harris, M.P., Lindström, J., Butler, A., Newell, M.A., Sato, K., Watanuki, Y, Parsons. M. & Daunt, F. (2014) Among-year and within-population variation in foraging distribution of European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis over two decades: implications for marine spatial planning. Biological Conservation 140:292-299

Thaxter, C.B., Daunt, F., Grémillet, D., Harris, M.P., Benvenuti, S., Watanuki, Y., Hamer, K.C. & Wanless, S. (2013) Modelling the effects of prey size and distribution on prey capture rates of two sympatric marine predators. PLOS One 8: e79915

Barlow, E.J., Daunt, F., Wanless, S. & Reid, J.M. (2013) Estimating dispersal distributions at multiple scales: within-colony and among-colony dispersal rates, distances and directions in European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis.  Ibis 155: 762-778

Burthe, S., Newell, M.A., Goodman, G., Butler, A., Bregnballe, T., Harris, E.., Wanless, S., Cunningham, E.J.A. & Daunt, F. (2013) Endoscopy as a novel method for assessing endoparasite burdens. Methods in Ecology & Evolution 4: 207-216

Lahoz-Monfort, J.J., Morgan, B. J. T., Harris, M. P., Daunt, F., Wanless, S. & Freeman, S.N. (2013) Breeding together: modeling synchrony in productivity synchrony in a seabird community. Ecology 94: 3-10

Reed, T.E., Daunt, F., Kiploks, A.J., Burthe, S.J., Granroth-Wilding, H.M.V., Takahashi, E.A., Newell, M., Wanless, S. & Cunningham, E. (2012) Impacts of parasites in early life: contrasting effects on juvenile growth for different family members. PLOS One 7: e32236

Burthe, S.J., Daunt, F., Butler, A., Elston, D., Frederiksen, M., Johns, D., Newell, M., Thackeray, S.J. & Wanless, S. (2012) Phenological trends and trophic mismatch across multiple levels of a North Sea pelagic food web. Marine Ecology Progress Series 454:119-133

Frederiksen, M., Moe, B., Daunt, F., et al. (2012) Multi-colony tracking reveals the winter distribution of a pelagic seabird on an ocean basin scale. Diversity & Distributions 18:530-542

Barlow, E.J., Daunt, F., Wanless, S., Reid, J.M. & Cavers, S. (2011) Weak global population genetic structure in a philopatric seabird, the European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis). Ibis 153: 768-778.

Bogdanova, M., Daunt, F., Newell, M.A., Phillips, R.A., Harris, M.P. & Wanless, S. (2011) Seasonal interactions in the black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla: links between breeding performance and winter distribution. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 278: 2412-2418.

Harris, M.P., Daunt, F., Newell, M.A., Phillips, R.A. & Wanless, S. (2010) Wintering areas of adult Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica from a North Sea colony as revealed by geolocation technology. Marine Biology 157: 827-836

Thaxter, C.B., Daunt, F., Hamer, K.C., Watanuki, Y., Harris, M.P., Grémillet, D., Peters, G. & Wanless, S. (2009) Sex-specific food provisioning in a monomorphic seabird: nest defence, foraging efficiency or parental effort? Journal of Avian Biology 40:75-84

Reed, T., Daunt, F., Hall, M.E., Phillips, R.A., Wanless, S. & Cunningham, E. (2008) Parental responses to parasitism affect production of sons. Science 321: 1681-1682.

Daunt, F., Wanless, S., Greenstreet, S.P.R., Jensen, H., Hamer, K.C. & Harris, M.P. (2008) The impact of the sandeel fishery closure in the northwestern North Sea on seabird food consumption, distribution and productivity. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 65: 362-381.

Frederiksen, M., Daunt, F., Harris, M.P. & Wanless, S. (2008) Stochastic weather drives survival and population dynamics in a long-lived seabird. Journal of Animal Ecology 77:1020-1029.

Daunt, F., Afanasyev, V., Adam, A., Croxall, J.P. & Wanless, S. (2007) From cradle to early grave: juvenile mortality in European shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis results from inadequate development of foraging proficiency. Biology Letters 3:371-374.

Daunt, F., Wanless, S., Harris, M.P., Money, L. & Monaghan, P. (2007) Older and wiser: improvements in breeding success are linked to better foraging performance in European shags. Functional Ecology 21:561-567.

Daunt, F., Afanasyev, V., Silk, J.R.D. & Wanless, S. (2006) Extrinsic and intrinsic determinants of winter foraging and breeding phenology in a temperate seabird. Behavioural Ecology & Sociobiology 59:381-388.