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Dr. Richard Phillips - Profile

Dr. Richard Phillips

+44 (0)1223 221400

British Antarctic Survey
Madingley Road, High Cross
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0ET United Kingdom


My research concentrates on the population, physiological and evolutionary ecology of seabirds, particularly albatrosses and petrels. Currently I work within the BAS Core Science Ecosystems programme. Much of this work is collaborative, involving researchers world-wide, and focuses on topics that include conservation, fisheries interactions, impacts of introduced predators, habitat preferences, at-sea activity patterns, foraging ecology, overlap with fisheries, food web structure, population dynamics, stable isotopes, pollutants, population genetic structure, hormones and behaviour, comparative breeding biology and population trends.

My main field sites are Bird Island (South Georgia) and Signy Island (South Orkneys). Bird Island holds an unusually high diversity and abundance of seabirds suitable for a wide variety of comparative studies. BAS has carried out long-term population studies of albatrosses and petrels at Bird Island dating back to early 1960s (for wandering albatross), 1970s (grey-headed and black-browed albatrosses) and 1990s (light-mantled sooty albatrosses and giant petrels). We also carry out a variety of dedicated studies, integrating conventional observational techniques with the latest in tracking and logging technology, and molecular and stable isotope analysis. A large component of the current research is directed at addressing the declines in albatross and petrel populations as a result of incidental mortality in longline and trawl fisheries.

My previous research has encompassed a diverse range of topics including demography, conservation and management, individual quality, diet, provisioning strategies and foraging ranges, physiology and regulation of chick growth, territoriality, the evolution of plumage polymorphism and size dimorphism, and, in collaboration with other researchers, heavy metal and stable isotope studies. This has included work on fulmars, gannets, kittiwakes, barnacle geese, natterjack toads, albatrosses and skuas.