Doctoral students

Ben Dilley

Ben Dilley
BSc (Hons) UCT


On Nightingale Island until March 2018.

After a few years research in Etosha, Namibia, Ben worked for the BBC NHU for Planet Earth and Life before heading south to Marion Island in 2009-10. In 2011, Ben completed a BSc Hons at UCT, spending his spare time in the Karoo catching enigmatic Ludwig’s Bustards. After a second year on Marion (2012-13), a year on Gough (2014-15) and a summer on Tristan da Cunha and Nightingale (2015-16), Ben is now back on Nightingale Island for the second summer working on Wilkins’ Buntings (2017-18). Ben’s primary interest is the long term monitoring of seabirds on sub-Antarctic Islands with a focus on how introduced mammals effect these seabird populations.

Thesis title

The effects of introduced mice on seabirds breeding on sub-Antarctic islands (Supervisor: Peter Ryan)

Recent peer reviewed publications

Schoombie S, Schoombie J, Oosthuizen A, Suleman E, Jones MGW, Pretorius L, Dilley BJ, Ryan PG (2017) Avian pox in seabirds on Marion Island, southern Indian Ocean. Antarctic Science

Rollinson DP, Dilley BJ, Davies D, Ryan PG (2017) Year-round movements of white-chinned petrels from Marion Island, southwestern Indian Ocean. Antarctic Science

Brooke MDL, Bonnaud E, Dilley BJ, Flint EN, Holmes ND, Jones HP, Provost P, Rocamora G, Ryan PG, Surman C and Buxton RT (2017) Seabird population changes following mammal eradications on islands. Animal Conservation

Dilley BJ, Davies D, Schramm M, Connan M, Ryan PG (2017) The distribution and abundance of Blue Petrels Halobaena caerulea breeding at subantarctic Marion Island. Emu - Austral Ornithology, 117(3), 222-232

Schoombie S, Dilley BJ, Davies D, Glass T, Ryan PG (2017) The distribution of breeding Sooty Albatrosses from the three most important breeding sites: Gough, Tristan and the Prince Edward Islands. Emu, 117(2), 160-169

Dilley BJ, Schoombie S, Schoombie J, Ryan PG (2016) ‘Scalping’ of albatross fledglings by introduced mice spreads rapidly at Marion Island. Antarctic Science 28, 73-80

Dilley BJ, Schramm M, Ryan PG (2016) Modest increases in densities of burrow-nesting petrels following the removal of cats Felis catus from Marion Island. Polar Biology 3(40), 625-637

Jones MGW, Hagens Q, Louw H, Mertz E, Visser P, Dilley BJ, Ryan PG (2016) Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans breeding phenology at Marion Island. Polar Biology 5(40), 1139-1148

Rollinson DP, Dilley BJ, Davies D, Ryan PG (2016) Diving behaviour of Grey Petrels and its relevance for mitigating longline bycatch. Emu 116 (4), 340-349

Pichegru L, Edwards TB, Dilley BJ, Flower TP, Ryan PG (2016) African Penguin tolerance to humans depends on historical exposure at colony level. Bird Conservation International doi: 10.1017/S0959270915000313

Dilley BJ, Davies D, Bond AL, Ryan PG (2015) Effects of mouse predation on burrowing petrel chicks at Gough Island. Antarctic Science 27:543-553

Davies D, Dilley BJ, Bond AL, Cuthbert RJ, Ryan PG (2015) Trends and tactics of mouse predation on Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena chicks at Gough Island, South Atlantic Ocean. Avian Conversation and Ecology 10:5

Torres LG, Sutton PJ, Thompson DR, Delord K, Weimerskirch H, Sagar PM, Sommer E, Dilley BJ, Ryan PG, Phillips RA (2015) Poor transferability of species distribution models for a pelagic predator, the grey petrel, indicates contrasting habitat preferences across ocean basins. PLoS ONE 10(3):e0120014

Ryan PG, Dilley BJ, Jones C, Bond AL (2014) Blue Petrels Halobaena caerulea discovered breeding on Gough Island. Ostrich 89: 193-194

Jones MGW, Dilley BJ, Hagens QA, Louw H, Mertz EM, Visser P, Ryan PG (2014). The effect of parental age, experience and historical reproductive success on wandering albatross chick growth and survival. Polar Biology 37:1633-1644

Rollinson DP, Dilley BJ, Ryan PG (2014) Diving behaviour of White-chinned Petrels and its relevance for mitigating longline bycatch. Polar Biology 37:1301-1308

Ryan PG, Bourgeois K, Dromzée S, Dilley BJ (2014) The occurrence of two bill morphs of prions Pachyptila vittata on Gough Island. Polar Biology 37:727-735

Shaw JM, Dilley BJ, Davies D, Ryan PG (2013) Trapping and capture myopathy in Ludwig's Bustard. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 44:16-23

Dilley BJ (2013) Living on the edge: Sooty Albatross chick killed by a Northern Giant Petrel. Biodiversity Observations 4:138-142

Dilley BJ, Davies D, Connan M, Cooper J, de Villiers M, Swart L, Vandenabeele S, Ropert-Coudert Y, Ryan PG (2013) Giant petrels as predators of albatross chicks. Polar Biology 36:761-766

Ryan PG, Dilley BJ, Jones MGW (2012) The distribution and abundance of White-chinned Petrels Procellaria aequinoctialis breeding at the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands. Polar Biology 35:1851-1859