Shearwater plastic research

A recent study has tracked flesh-footed Shearwaters to better understand the effects of ocean plastic.

Continuing the LHI Museum’s long involvement in research with ocean plastics and seabirds, in February 2022 the museum facilitated a PhD student project to further understand this issue. 

Peter Puskic (University of Tasmania) carried out a project to fit GPS loggers on a number of Flesh-footed shearwaters to track their foraging movements in the Tasman Sea and determine if there was any correlation in their flight path with plastic being brought back in food for their chicks. 

The Dick and Pip Smith Foundation sponsored this project; Museum Curator Ian Hutton was one of three supervisors on the project and spent many nights assisting with the field work. 

Results showed some of the birds would go on a 13 day foraging trip through the south Tasman Sea. The data will be analysed and presented in a peer reviewed paper.

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