PBMS team

PBMS Team

The Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme team consists of Professor Richard Shore (Principal Investigator), Lee WalkerElaine PotterJacky Chaplow and Gloria Pereira. The organogram below gives a brief explanation of what each team member is responsible for and the images show the staff at work.

At the bottom of the page you can 'Meet the team' via interviews with Prof. Richard ShoreElaine PotterLee WalkerDr. Gloria Pereira and Jacky Chaplow.

Meet the Team: Prof. Richard Shore


What is your role in the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme? 

I am the Principal Investigator and provide the scientific leadership and project management of the PBMS. I manage the PBMS team and resources to ensure that the scheme runs efficiently and maximises its activities and outputs. This includes liaising closely with funders and other stakeholders to agree our work programme. My aim is to ensure the PBMS remains focussed on contaminants of current and emerging concern, gains new scientific insights, and provides the evidence needed to underpin stakeholder policy needs. I am involved in data analysis, report and paper writing, supervision of PhD students who work with the PBMS, and I present the scientific findings of the PBMS at conferences and meetings. I also represent the PBMS on the WILDCOMS network in the UK and am the UK representative on the EURAPMON (Research Monitoring for and with Raptors in Europe) network.

How did you get involved in the PBMS?

I studied Zoology at the University of Bristol and completed a PhD at Manchester University. I then joined the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (later to become part of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) at Monks Wood in 1988 where I worked primarily on the effects of contaminants and pesticides in wild mammals. In 2000, following the retirement of Prof. Ian Newton, I was asked to take on the role of Principal Investigator for the long-running “Wildlife and Pollution” monitoring programme, which we soon re-named the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme. The PBMS relocated its “nest” to CEH Lancaster in 2007 where we have also forged close research links with colleagues in the Lancaster Environment Centre.

What is your favourite bird of prey and why?

Of the birds we focus on in the PBMS, gannets are probably my favourite. They are just fabulous to watch, particularly when feeding. I was roundly told off by my family when we were at the open-air Minack theatre in Cornwall as my attention kept wandering from the play (excellent and funny) to a group of 20 or so feasting gannets that were providing an ever-changing and spectacular backcloth. The actors never stood a chance! The PBMS currently monitors gannet eggs for a range of contaminants (see Reports, Scientific papers and Data downloads).

Meet the Team: Elaine Potter


What is your role in the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme?

I am responsible for management of the practical side of the PBMS - the day to day running of the scheme. This includes fielding telephone and email queries about sending birds, receiving and sending out boxes, carrying out post-mortems, logging samples, sending out the post mortem reports, answering queries about reports and storing samples. In addition, I sample the majority of the egg samples that we receive each year. 

On arrival at CEH Lancaster the birds are assigned a unique number, placed in a labelled plastic bag and stored in a walk in freezer ready to be thawed out at a later date for post mortem. The post-mortem involves taking a number of different measurements and samples of tissues from the bird. Data is entered onto a database and samples produced during post mortem are stored in trays and frozen in readiness for future analysis and studies.
Another of my tasks is taking care of the Dermestes maculatus beetles - a species of carrion beetle. D. maculatus are used to remove the flesh from the bone samples of the birds since clean bone samples are required for analysis. We have a video showing the beetles cleaning a sperrowhawk carcass.

How did you get involved in the PBMS?

I am a local girl raised on a farm in North Cumbria. I was working for a food production company carrying out food microbiology testing before I joined the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in 1999 as a Microbiologist. Over the years I developed my skills to perform other analyses such as phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. This allowed me to demonstrate an attention to detail and ability to follow detailed multi-step analytical processes.
I became involved in the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme 6 years ago when the work was transferred from Monkswood in Cambridgeshire to Lancaster during a major reorganisation of the CEH structure.
With my farming background, I am not squeamish but had never carried out a post-mortem. I was keen to take on a new challenge and was in a position to volunteer to undertake training specific to birds of prey in order to take over this work. I now carry out the majority of the 300 + post-mortems per year.

What is your favourite bird of prey and why?

The Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculusis) has been a favourite of mine since childhood. I admire its expertise at hovering for long periods of time before swooping down - always a fascinating sight and one I still love to see.

Meet the Team: Lee Walker

What is your role in the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme?

I am the coordinator of the PBMS. This means I manage the scheme on a day to day basis. One of my main tasks is to liaise with contributors to ensure we get enough samples to carry out our annual monitoring and to populate the PBMS Tissue Archive. I keep my post mortem examination skills up to date by carrying out examinations on a small proportion of birds we receive.
In addition I am the lead author of the PBMS reports which can be downloaded from our website. I am responsible for promoting awareness of the scheme and present the work of the scheme through presentations to professional, academic and interest groups. I help keep the scheme website up to date with the latest news and reports, and post items on the PBMS Facebook page.

How did you get involved in the PBMS?

I studied for a degree in Zoology at Sheffield University, followed by a masters degree in Ecotoxicology at Reading University. In 1997 I started working at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, studying the accumulation and effects of heavy metals in small mammals. In 2000 I moved up the food chain and took over the role of Scheme Coordinator from Heath Malcolm. I have thoroughly enjoyed maintaining the scientific and policy focus of the scheme and I am proud of the achievements of the PBMS.

What is your favourite bird of prey and why?

Red kites (Milvus milvus) have fascinated me since I went to view a winter roost near Deenethorpe Airfield, Northants. I accompanied Derek Holman, who had been involved in monitoring the red kite population since its reintroduction in the area, and saw about 60 birds all roosting together. I had never seen so many raptors in one place, and since then I have held a particular interest in this species. As part of the PBMS we analyse red kite livers for both lead (Pb) and anti-coagulant rodenticides (ARs). The latest reports can be downloaded from our website.

Meet the Team: Jacky Chaplow


What is your role in the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme? 

I manage the PBMS web presence (website, Facebook page and Twitter feed) and am the person who manages the PBMS database. This Oracle database allows the team to store, manage and use the  large amount of both biometric and pollutant information generated about the birds we receive.  I deal with changes to the layout of the database and add data that cannot be copied straight into the database for some reason (often because it is too large to handle manually). Information recorded during the post mortem is recorded directly into a live database. Sometimes, the team decide that they would like to record something new. For example, I recently added a new column entitled BTO ring number to allow the PBMS to report information about where birds have been found to the BTO more quickly and efficiently.

How did you get involved in the PBMS? 

The PBMS needed someone who could manage the Oracle database and organise the creation of a new website. I had some previous experience with Oracle and wiki-markup language (a web editing tool), so the PBMS drafted me in. I enjoy working with the team and the challenge that the database provides. More recently we have moved the website to Drupal and I dealt with upgrading the content.

What is your favourite bird of prey and why? 

Of all the birds studied by the PBMS, I love Red Kites. The last time I went down south, I bored my family counting Red Kites over the motorway in Oxfordshire. I counted 18 within a few miles. Magical and so distinctive with the kite shaped tail. Whilst visiting our CEH headquarters, I stayed at a hotel in Wallingford and there were a group of Kites nesting in the grounds. The sight was amazing; the birds fly towards each other with talons out, then twist and turn away at the last minute! They were very acrobatic and put on quite a show.

Image of a red kite soaring in the sky
 

 

Meet the Team: Gloria Pereira


What is your role in the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme?

I am a senior analytical chemist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) who leads CEH’s centralised analytical chemistry laboratories.  I manage the analytical chemistry work that underpins the PBMS monitoring, ensuring that the methods that we use are appropriate, and that analyses are of high quality and delivered on schedule.  I lead on specific PBMS studies, undertaking data analysis, presenting our findings at conferences and through papers, and I supervise PhD students.  My current focus is on persistent organic pollutants (such as polychlorinated biphenyls and perfluorinated compounds) and on the use of stable isotopes (carbon, nitrogen, sulphur) as a proxy measure for diet.   I am the coordinator of the WILDCOMS network in the UK, of which the PBMS is a partner.

How did you get involved in the PBMS?

I completed my undergraduate and Master’s degrees at Aveiro University, Portugal before undertaking a PhD in Marine Biogeochemistry at Bangor University in North Wales. After completing a subsequent post-doctoral fellowship at Bangor, I joined CEH at Monks Wood as an analytical chemist in 2006.  I immediately became involved in working on the PBMS, both in terms of analysing samples and working on certain research studies. The analytical laboratories and the PBMS subsequently relocated from Monks Wood to Lancaster and I likewise moved to the north-west in 2008.   Details of my PBMS and wider research can be found here: http://www.ceh.ac.uk/staff/gloria-pereira.

What is your favourite bird of prey and why?

I am not sure I really have a favourite bird of prey as such but my PBMS research to date has centred most heavily on gannets.  I have been interested in characterising time-trends in pollution in this species and have published work on their long-term exposure to PCBs and mercury (Pereira et al. 2009. Long term trends in mercury and PCB congener concentrations in gannet (Morus bassanus) eggs in Britain. Environmental Pollution 157, 155-163).  A more recent study, completed with John Crosse, a PhD student co-supervised with Prof Kevin Jones from the  Lancaster Environment Centre, demonstrated how good a marine sentinel gannets are.  We found that time trends in the contamination of gannets with brominated flame retardants closely mirrored trends in the European production and use of these products (Crosse et al. 2012. Long term trends in PBDE concentrations in gannet (Morus bassanus) eggs from two UK colonies. Environmental Pollution, 161. 93-100. DOI:10.1016/j.envpol.2011.10.003). Future research will focus on threats from emerging contaminants such as pefluorinated compounds.


 

How can you help?

If you find a dead bird of prey telephone us (01524 595830) or Contact us and see the How to send us a dead bird page.