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Sarah Wanless

Sarah Wanless


CEH - Centre for Ecology & Hydrology


Marine predator (seabirds) feeding and population ecology, climate change

Sarah Wanless is a NERC Individual Merit Scientist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology with >30 years experience of research in the North Atlantic. The aim of her work is to understand the impact of global change on marine top predators, particularly seabirds.  Most of her research is field-based, much of it focussed on CEH’s study site on the Isle of May, and utilising long term data on a wide range of seabirds including puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes, shags and gannets. However, her current research interests extend beyond the breeding season and use both traditional colour-ringing and novel bio-logging approaches to track individuals year round and/or during the prospecting phase of their lives. Her work has proved essential to the conservation of marine ecosystems and she produced scientific evidence resulting in the ban of sandeel fisheries in the western North Sea following catastrophic seabird breeding failures in Scotland. She has published >200 papers, with >5,000 citations (h-index 39).  She is committed to communicating science to a wide audience, is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, an Honorary professor at the University of Aberdeen and received the Zoological Society of London Marsh Award for Conservation Biology in 2007.  

Selected Publications

Burthe, S.J., 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
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(11):e79915.doi.10.1371/journal.pone.0079915.

Anderson, H.B., Evans, P.G.H., Potts, J.M., Harris, M.P. & Wanless, S. (2013) The diet of Common Guillemot (Uria aalge) chicks at colonies in the UK, 2006-2011: evidence for changing prey communities in the North Sea. Ibis 156: 23-34.

Frederiksen, M., Anker-Nilssen, T., Beaugrand, G. & Wanless, S. (2013) Climate, copepods and seabirds in the boreal Northeast Atlantic - current state and future outlook. Global Change Biology 19: 364-372.

Grandgeorge, M., Wanless, S., Dunn, T.E., Maumy, M., Beaugrand, G. &  GrĂ©millet, D. (2008) Resilience of the British and Irish seabird community in the twentieth century. Aquatic Biology 4: 187-199.

Useful links

Profile on CEH website