Chris Pollock

Chris Pollock


2017 - present. PhD student at the University of Leeds. I am a NERC Case student interested in understanding how offshore wind farms will impact Northern gannet (Morus bassanus) populations, particularly around the Bass Rock colony where our main study population breeds. Alongside internal supervisors (Prof Hamer & Prof Benton), this studentship is based on collaboration with non-academic partners. Here, this includes supervision from Prof Bob Furness at MacArthur Green ecological consultancy, and Dr Jesper Larsen at Vattenfall energy company. The project will combine individual-based modelling with movement data to further understand population level cumulative impacts of collision, displacement, and barrier effects on Bass Rock populations with the aim of increasing accuracy of advice to stakeholders in renewable energy production.

2015 - 2016. Various research assistant positions. Invertebrate identification at University of Konstanz. Expedition to Southwest Nigeria to sample potential subspecies of chimpanzee, which are highly threatened due to illegal logging and habitat fragmentation funded by Copenhagen Zoo. Field coordinator for urban population study site in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow.

2014 - 2015. MSc Quantitative methods in ecology, conservation, and epidemiology at the University of Glasgow. Taught courses including advananced statistics, programming in R, single species modelling, multi species modelling, DNA barcoding. My research project was a multi-trophic investigation into how urbanisation, in particular altered diet, impacts upon breeding success of a passerine, Cyanistes caeruleus. Methods used to acheive this were stable isotopes analyses and extensive behavioural observations, which were related to breeding success over the period in question through close monitoring of the focal study populations (Read more:

2010 - 2014. BSc Zoology at the University of Glasgow. Honours project: Reproductive behaviour of the Tobago glass frog, Hyalinobatrachium orientale. Using in situ experimental techniques to understand the extent of paternal care of the glass frog for its egg clutches oviposited on the underside of broad leaves overhanging freshwater streams. Here I developed field techniques and logistics, including documenting previously unknown behaviours for the species in question. This comprised part of the 2013 Univeristy of Glasgow Tobago expedition, as part of the exploration society, for which I returned in 2014 as a co-leader. 

Research interests

The research in this PhD has four main aims:

  1. Developing a spatially-explicity, individual-based model using several years of extensive movement data throughout the chick-rearing period, obtained through GPS deployment. The aim here is to understand population level effects of the cumulative impacts of collision, displacement, and barrier effects mediated through behavioural decisions and their energetic consequences of the Bass Rock gannet population. 
  2. To assess the potentail effects of offshore wind farms on stage-specific mortality. During a placement at MacArthur Green I will work on relating aerial survey data on gannet age classes present in the southern North Sea offshore wind farm lease areas with the novel data being acquired from tracking of fledglings (and simultaneously tracked adults), in order to gain a better understanding of how seasonal behaviours differ between age classes. This will hopefully provide an understanding of the consequent collision risks of juvenile gannets compare with those of adult gannets. 
  3. To predict the impacts of additional mortality resulting from offshore wind farms. Data used here will include colour ring resighting data of adults on Bass Rock, from a ringing scheme initiated by Bob Furness. Further understanding of adult survival and relating this to behaviour and foraging trip metrics will form a thorough initial investigation to comprise part of the Befor-after-control-impact (BACI) design to assessing the impacts of renewable developments in the Firth of Forth.
  4. Synthesise findings from the above three points to inform advice on policy.



  • MSc, Quantitative Methods in biodiversity, epidemiology & conservation; University of Glasgow
  • BSc, Zoology; University of Glasgow

Research groups and institutes

  • Ecology and Evolution