Dr Ross Wanless
Ross graduated 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 to undertake a PhD study on the impacts of introduced house mouse on the endemic seabirds 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 has supervised Vivian Barquete (PhD), Dominic Rollinson (PhD) and Jenny Roberts (MSc). Ross also co-supervised (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.
Dominic Rollinson. 2017. Understanding and mitigating seabird bycatch in the South African pelagic longline fishery (Co-supervisor: Peter Ryan)
Viviane Barquete Costa. 2012. Using stable isotopes as a tool to understand the trophic relationships and movements of seabirds off southern Africa (Co-supervisor: Peter Ryan).
Jenny Roberts: African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) distribution during the non-breeding season: preparation for, and recovery from, a moulting fast. (Co-supervisors: Peter Ryan, Lorien Pichegru, Christina Moseley)
Conservation Biology Masters
Craig Harding. 2013 Tracking African penguins (Sphensicus demersus) outside of the breeding season: regional effects and fishing pressure during the pre-moult period (Co-supervisor: Peter Ryan)
Recent peer-reviewed publications
Cherel, Y., Barbraud, C., Lahournat, M., Jaeger, A., Jaquemet, S., Wanless, R.M., Phillips, R.A., Thompson, D.R. and Bustamante, P. 2018. Accumulate or eliminate? Seasonal mercury dynamics in albatrosses, the most contaminated family of birds. Environmental Pollution 241: 124-135. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.05.048
Krüger, L., Ramos, J.A., Xavier, J.C., Grémillet, D., González-Solís, J., Petry, M.V., Phillips, R.A., Wanless, R.M., and Paiva, V.H. 2018. Projected distributions of Southern Ocean albatrosses, petrels and fisheries as a consequence of climatic change. Ecography 41: 195-208. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecog.02590
Sullivan, B.J., Kibel, B., Kibel, P., Yates, O., Potts, J.M., Ingham, B., Domingo, A., Gianuca, D., Jiménez, S., Lebepe, B., Maree, B.A., Neves, T., Peppes, F., Rasehlomi, T., Silva-Costa, A., and Wanless, R.M. 2018. At-sea trialling of the Hookpad: a ‘one-stop’ mitigation solution for seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries. Animal Conservation 21: 159-167. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acv.12388
Dias, M.P., Oppel, S., Bond, A.L., Carneiro. A.P.B., Cuthbert, R.J., González-Solís, J., Wanless, R.M., Glass, T., Lascelles, B., Small, C., Phillips, R.A. and Ryan, P.G. 2017. Using globally threatened pelagic birds to identify priority sites for marine conservation in the South Atlantic Ocean. Biological Conservation 211: 76-84. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.05.009
Krüger, L., Ramos, J.A., Xavier, J.C., Grémillet, D., González-Solís, J., Kolbeinsson, Y., Militão, T., Navarro, J., Petry, M.V., Phillips, R.A., Ramírez, I., Reyes-González, J.M., Ryan, P.G., Siguròsson, I.A., Van Sebille, E., Wanless, R.M. and Paiva, V.H. 2017. Identification of candidate pelagic marine protected areas through a seabird seasonal-, multispecific- and extinction risk- based approach. Animal Conservation 20: 409-424. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acv.12339
Paterson, J.R.B., Yates, O., Holtzhausen, H., Reid, T., Shimooshili, K., Yates, S., Sullivan, B.J. and Wanless, R.M. 2017. Seabird mortality in the Namibian demersal longline fishery and recommendations for best practice mitigation measures. Oryx. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0030605317000230
Rollinson, D.P., Wanless, R.M. and Ryan, P.G. 2017. Patterns and trends in seabird bycatch in the pelagic longline fishery off South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science 39: 9-25. http://dx.doi.org/10.2989/1814232X.2017.1303396
Sullivan, B.J., Kibel, B., Kibel, P., Yates, O., Potts, J.M., Ingham, B., Domingo, A., Gianuca, D., Jiménez, S., Lebepe, B., Maree, B.A., Neves, T., Peppes, F., Rasehlomi, T., Silva-Costa, A., and Wanless, R.M. 2017. At-sea trialling of the Hookpad: a ‘one-stop’ mitigation solution for seabird bycatch in pelagic longline fisheries. Animal Conservation. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acv.12388
Sydeman, W.J., Thompson, S.A., Anker-Nilssen, T., Arimitsu, M., Bennison, A., Bertrand, S., Boersch-Supan, P., Boyd, C., Bransome, N.C., Crawford, R.J.M., Daunt, F., Furness, R.W., Gianuca, D., Gladics, A., Koehn, L., Lang, J.W., Logerwell, E., Morris, T.L., Phillips, E.M., Provencher, J., Punt, A.E., Saraux, C., Shannon, L., Sherley, R.B., Simeone, A., Wanless, R.M., Wanless, S. and Zador, S. 2017. Best practices for assessing forage fish fisheries-seabird resource competition. Fisheries Research 194: 209-221. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2017.05.018
Cuthbert, R.J., Wanless, R.M., Angel, A., Burle, M-H., Hilton, G.M., Louw, H., Visser, P., Wilson, J.W. and Ryan, P.G. 2016. Drivers of predatory behavior and extreme size in house mice Mus musculus on Gough Island. Journal of Mammalogy http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyv199
Valle, S., Barros, N., Ramírez, I. and Wanless, R.M. 2016. Population estimates of the breeding birds of the Tinhosas islands (Gulf of Guinea), the only major seabird colony of the eastern tropical Atlantic. Ostrich 87: 209-215. http://dx.doi.org/10.2989/00306525.2016.1207720
Silva, M.C., Matias, R., Wanless, R.M., Ryan, P.G., Stephenson, B.M., Bolton, M., Ferrand, N. & Coelho, M.M. 2015. Understanding the mechanisms of antitropical divergence in the seabird White-faced Storm-petrel (Procellariiformes: Pelagodroma marina) using a multilocus approach. Molecular Ecology 24:3122–3137 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.13212
Taylor, M.R, Peacock, F. and Wanless, R.M. (eds) The Eskom Red Data Book of Birds of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, BirdLife South Africa, Johannesburg.