Natasha Gillies

Seabird behaviour and ecology

I'm a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Liverpool, where I'm studying how individual variation and environment interact to shape movement decisions in two polar seabirds - the wandering albatross, and the black-legged kittiwake. My research investigates the intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of animal movement and what consequences these have on a population level. 


Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Liverpool

April 2021 - present

I'm working as a postdoctoral researcher with SEGUL at the University of Liverpool, where I'm exploring the drivers of movement decisions in wandering albatrosses and kittiwakes.

In albatrosses, I've been using a combination of high-resolution GPS data and long-term individual behavioural assays to (1) determine the effect of personality type on the decisions made by wandering albatross when foraging at sea and (2) examine whether infrasound might function as a long-range cue in the movement decisions of foraging albatross. 

Through funding provided by a BBSRC Career Development Fellowship and NERC's Exploring the Frontiers grant, I have been turning these techniques to black-legged kittiwakes breeding across Svalbard. I'm investigating how the unique conditions of the Arctic shape the movement and ecology of kittiwakes breeding at the latitudinal extremes of their distribution. Through collaborations with the ATLAS Wildlife Tracking team, I am working to establish the first ATLAS reverse-GPS tracking system in the Arctic to carry out high-throughput, high resolution tracking of kittiwakes across colonies in Svalbard.

DPhil Student, University of Oxford

September 2017 - March 2021

I worked in the OxNav research group for my BBSRC-funded PhD, where I investigated the mechanisms and consequences of coordinated parental care for two Procellariiform seabirds: the Manx shearwater and the black-browed albatross. I used precision biotelemetry devices in combination with fieldwork-based experiments and observations to investigate the decisions made by parents during breeding, and whether these are made cooperatively across the pair. My thesis is available to read online here.

Get in touch at natasha.gillies [at]