Victoria Dale

I studied Biological Sciences at the University of Oxford for my undergraduate degree (2012 – 2015) and I then completed a Masters of Research at the University of Southampton in 2017.

Long-term temporal dynamics of an over-sea migrant bird assemblage.

PhD Aim:

My project aims to look at the effect of environmental change on migrant species phenology/the timing of species life history events, as well as how this scales up to alter the community composition of species using Fair Isle through time. 

PhD Objectives:

To achieve the aims of this project, I will be using daily migrant sighting data, spanning > 60 years, to investigate how the migratory schedules and phenology of multiple bird species have changed through time. This dataset, collected by Fair Isle Bird Observatory using a standardised methodology since 1955, provides a rare opportunity to quantify inter-species differences in the presence/magnitude of phenological responses in both spring and autumn. I will use the findings from this to investigate whether specific factors/attributes (e.g. phylogeny, migration distance, habitat requirements, feeding ecology etc.) are effective in explaining observed variance in species phenological responses. Finally, I aim to scale this up to quantify how the structure and composition of the migratory community assemblage passing through Fair Isle has changed throughout this time period. From this, I will assess whether inter-species differences in response are altering temporal niche separation between species using Fair Ilse and thereby changing species interactions.

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