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Interview: Dr. Bill Montevecchi on Oil and Dispersant Effects on Birds Wintering in the Gulf of Mexico

Posted On January 9, 2014 by

Dr. Montevecchi applying a tracking device to a northern gannet at its northernmost oceanic colony site, Funk Island, Newfoundland, Canada. [Photo: Stefan Garthe]

(This blog is part of a series of interviews with scientists who are championing marine research in the Gulf of Mexico.)

Dr. Bill Montevecchi is a professor of psychology, biology and ocean sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland. He conducts long-term interdisciplinary ecosystem research on the behavioral ecology of marine and terrestrial birds, especially environmental influences on animal behavior and ecology. His study of migrating northern gannets, among other things, demonstrates that what happens in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t only affect the Gulf. Gannets are monogamous for life, and though mates travel independently during the nonbreeding season and may have round-trip migrations of 10,000 kilometers (6,214 miles) or more,  they then return to their Canadian nest site where the partners reunite the following spring. A substantial proportion of the northern gannet population winters in the Gulf of Mexico, many in the vicinity of the area oiled by BP.

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