Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

South African research on ACAP species wins UNEP/CMS Thesis Awards


National Geographic Deutschland, Deutsche Lufthansa, the Zoological Research Museum Koenig and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) have announced the 2008 winner of the UNEP/CMS Thesis Award on Migratory Species Conservation.


The winner of the 10 000 Euro-award is Dr Samantha Petersen, whose thesis “Understanding and mitigating vulnerable bycatch in southern African trawl and longline fisheries” dealt, inter alia, with such ACAP-listed species as the Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris and the White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis.


Out of the 32 submitted theses from 18 countries, the third-chosen laureate was Dr Ross Wanless, whose thesis “Impacts of the introduced House Mouse on the seabirds of Gough Island” concentrated on the Critically Endangered Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena, an ACAP-listed species whose chicks are killed in great numbers every year by mice.


Both Samantha Petersen and Ross Wanless conducted their PhD research at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, where their research was supervised by Associate Professor Peter Ryan of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology.  Professor Les Underhill of the Department of Zoology’s Animal Demography Unit co-supervised Dr Petersen’s thesis, and Dr Geoff Hilton of the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds co-supervised Dr Wanless’ thesis.


The Winner of the award will be introduced during the Ninth Meeting of the CMS Conference of Parties in Rome Italy, over 1-5 December 2008.


Online application for CoP10 Awards is now open until 28 February 2011.  PhD theses awarded by a licensed educational institution should provide new data and insights into the biology of migratory species or external factors disrupting their migration patterns.  Research results must be applicable to conservation measures.


 John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer.  Posted 24 September 2008