Students & Associates
Honorary Research Associate
with a BSc in Zoology from UCT in 1992. Since then he has worked
as a Scientific Observer for South Africa's Patagonian Toothfish
longline fishery observer programme. He has also worked as a
Scientific Officer at the Avian Demography Unit, with John
Cooper and BirdLife International's Seabird Conservation Programme, which
included creating and maintaining the project website.
Ross completed his BSc Honours at UCT in 1998 with distinction.
He was then invited to join a small team that spent three months
researching and monitoring seabirds and seals on the remote
sub-Antarctic island of Bouvet in 1998/1999. In April 1999 he
joined the Fitz for his Masters with Prof. Phil Hockey. Ross
conducted a highly successful reintroduction of the flightless
Aldabra Rail in the Seychelles and graduated in June 2002, again
with distinction. He did an eight-month internship with the
US-based Island Conservation in 2002/2003, working on several
island restoration projects in the US and northwest Mexico. He
then returned to the Fitz, spending a full year on remote
Gough Island, researching the impacts that the introduced house
mouse is having on the seabird community. This formed the basis
of his PhD "The impacts of introduced mice on birds at Gough
Island", under Prof. Peter Ryan. He graduated in December 2007,
winning the medal for the best PhD thesis in the Science Faculty
during 2007. His thesis took 3rd place in an international
thesis competition run by the United Nations Environmental
Programme and the Convention on Migratory Species.
Ross is now Seabird
Division manager for BirdLife South Africa, as well as the
Africa Coordinator for the Global Seabird Programme (BirdLife
International). His work involves establishing marine Important
Bird Areas throughout Africa and associated islands, managing
the Albatross Task Force activities (to reduce seabird mortality
in fisheries) in South Africa and Namibia, and strengthening
seabird conservation measures and implementation in
multi-lateral fisheries organisations, particularly the Indian
Ocean Tuna Commission and ICCAT in the Atlantic Ocean. In 2009
he secured funding for an initial 3-year research and
conservation intervention for the African Penguin, and is also
involved in several other national seabird conservation actions.
Ross was appointed an honorary
research associate in August 2009. He is currently co-supervising Dominic
Rollinson's PhD thesis and Jenny Roberts' MSc thesis. Ross is also
co-supervising (with Peter) Tim Reid's postdoctoral work on marine Important
Bird Areas. Support for research on
African Penguins is in the form of funding for Lorien Pichegru
and the Animal Demography Unit's Fitsum Gabresellasie. Ross regularly writes articles of ornithological
interest for popular publications and is a contributing author
for the new Robert’s Birds of Southern Africa. His research
interests include conservation and ecology of island systems,
seabird ecology, stable light isotope applications in
conservation, and evolutionary biology.
Rollinson: Reducing seabird bycatch from the longline fishing industry
(Supervisors: Peter Ryan
and Ross Wanless)
Jenny Roberts: Tracking African
Penguins in the non-breeding season (Supervisors: Peter Ryan,
Viviane Barquete Costa. 2012. Using stable isotopes as a tool to
understand the trophic relationships and movements of seabirds off southern
PhD Thesis, University of Cape Town. (Supervisors:
and Ross Wanless).
Conservation Biology Masters
Craig Harding. 2013
Tracking post-breeding African Penguins (Supervisors: Peter Ryan
and Ross Wanless)
Cherel, Y., Jaeger, A., Alderman, R., Jaquemet, S., Richard, P.,
R.M., Phillips, R.A. & Thompson, D.R. 2013. A comprehensive isotopic
investigation of habitat preferences in nonbreeding albatrosses from the
southern ocean. Ecography 36:277-286.
Croxall, J., Small, C., Sullivan, B., Wanless, R.M., Frere, E., Lascelles, B.,
Ramirez, I., Sato, M. & Yates, O. (2013). Appropriate scales and data to
manage seabird-fishery interactions: comment on Torres et al. (2013).
Marine Ecology Progress Series 493:297-300.
Jaeger, A., Jaquemet, S., Phillips, R.A., Wanless, R.M., Richard, P. & Cherel, Y. (2013). Stable isotopes document inter- and intra-specific
variation in feeding ecology of nine large southern Procellariiformes.
Marine Ecology Progress Series 490:255-266.
Reid, T.A., Wanless, R.M., Hilton, G.M., Phillips, R.A. & Ryan, P.G. (2013).
Foraging range and habitat associations of non-breeding Tristan albatrosses:
overlap with fisheries and implications for conservation. Endangered
Species Research 22:39-49.
Pichegru, L., Ryan, P.G., van Eeden, R., Reid, T., Grémillet, D. & Wanless, R.M.
2012. Industrial fishing, no-take zones and endangered penguins. Biological
Wanless, R.M., Ratcliffe, N., Angel, A., Bowie, B.C., Cita, K., Hilton, G.M.,
Kritzinger, P., Ryan, P.G. & Slabber, M. 2012. Predation of Atlantic Petrel
chicks by house mice on Gough Island. Animal Conservation 15:472-479.
Hockey, P.A.R., Wanless, R.M. &
von Brandis, R. 2011. Demographic resilience of territorial island birds to
extinction: the flightless Aldabra Rail (Dryolimnas [cuvieri] aldabranus)
as an example. Ostrich 82:1-9.
Tuck, G.N., Phillips, R.A., Small,
C., Thomson, R.B., Klaer, N.L., Taylor, F., Wanless, R.M. & Arrizabalaga, H.
2011. An assessment of seabird-fishery interactions in the Atlantic Ocean.
ICES Journal of Marine Science 68:1628-1637.
Wanless, R.M. & von Brandis, R. 2010. Demographic resilience of
territorial island birds to extinction: the flightless Aldabra
Rail (Dryolimnas [cuvieri] aldabranus) as an example.
Techow, N.M.S.M., O’Ryan, C., Phillips, R.A., Gales, R., Marin,
M., Patterson-Fraser, D., Quintana, F., Ritz, M.S., Thompson,
D.R., Wanless, R.M., Weimerskirch, H. & Ryan, P.G. 2010.
Speciation and phylogeography of giant petrels Macronectes
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 54:472-487.
Wanless, R.M., Scott, S., Sauer, W.H.H., Andrew, T.G., Glass,
J.P., Godfrey, B., Griffiths,C. & Yeld, E. 2010.
Semi-submersible rigs: transporting marine ecosystems around the
world. Biological Invasions 12:2573–2583.
Wanless, R.M., Cooper, J., Slabber, M.J. & Ryan, P.G. 2010. Risk
assessment of birds foraging terrestrially at Marion and Gough
Islands to primary and secondary poisoning by rodenticides.
Wildlife Research 37:524-530.
Wilson, J.W., Wanless, R.M., Burle, M.-H., Angel, A., Kritzinger,
P. & Stead, B. 2010. Breeding biology of Brown Noddies Anous
stolidus at their southern-most breeding site, Gough Island,
in comparison to other sites. Ardea 98: 242–246.
Copyright: Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology 2013
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