Welcome to The Natural History Museum repository

The Natural History Museum is an international leader in the study of the natural world. Our science describes the diversity of nature, promotes an understanding of its past, and supports the anticipation and management of the impact of human activity on the environment.

The Museum's repository provides free access to publications produced by more than 300 scientists working here. Researchers at the Museum study a diverse range of issues, including threats to Earth's biodiversity, the maintenance of delicate ecosystems, environmental pollution and disease. The accessible repository showcases this broad research output.

The repository was launched in 2016 with an initially modest number of journal publications in its database. It now includes book chapters and blogs from Museum scientists.

Select a community to browse its collections.

  • What’s the catch with lumpsuckers? A North Atlantic study of seabird bycatch in lumpsucker gillnet fisheries

    Christensen-Dalsgaard, Signe; Anker-Nilssen, Tycho; Crawford, Rory; Bond, AL; Sigurðsson, Guðjón Már; Glemarec, Gildas; Hansen, Erpur Snær; Kadin, Martina; Kindt-Larsen, Lotte; Mallory, Mark; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2019-12)
    Worldwide, incidental bycatch in fisheries is a conservation threat to many seabird species. Although knowledge on bycatch of seabirds has increased in the last decade, most stems from longline fisheries and the impacts of coastal gillnet fisheries are poorly understood. Gillnet fishing for North Atlantic lumpsucker (Cyclopterus lumpus) is one such fishery. We collated and synthesized the available information on seabird bycatch in lumpsucker gillnet fisheries across the entire geographical range to estimate and infer the magnitude of their impact on the affected seabird populations. Most birds killed were diving ducks, cormorants and auks, and each year locally high numbers of seabirds were taken as bycatch. We found large differences in bycatch rates among countries. The estimated mean bycatch in Iceland was 2.43 birds/trip, while the estimates in Norway was 0.44 and 0.39 birds/trip, respectively. The large disparities between estimates might reflect large spatial differences in bycatch rates, but could partly also arise due to distinctions in data recorded by onboard inspectors (Iceland), selfadministered registration (Norway) and direct observations by cameras (Denmark). We show that lumpsucker gillnet fisheries might pose a significant risk to some populations of diving seabirds. However, a distinct data deficiency on seabird bycatch in terms of spatio-temporal coverage and the age and origins of the birds killed, limited our abilities to fully assess the extent and population consequences of the bycatch. Our results highlight the need for a joint effort among countries to standardize monitoring methods to better document the impact of these fisheries on seabirds.
  • Important marine areas for the conservation of northern rockhopper penguins within the Tristan da Cunha Exclusive Economic Zone

    Steinfurth, A; Oppel, S; Dias, MP; Starnes, T; Pearmain, EJ; Dilley, BJ; Davies, D; Nydegger, M; Bell, C; Le Bouard, F; et al. (Inter-Research Science Center, 2020-12-03)
    The designation of Marine Protected Areas has become an important approach to conserving marine ecosystems that relies on robust information on the spatial distribution of biodiversity. We used GPS tracking data to identify marine Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) for the Endangered northern rockhopper penguin Eudyptes moseleyi within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic. Penguins were tracked throughout their breeding season from 3 of the 4 main islands in the Tristan da Cunha group. Foraging trips remained largely within the EEZ, with the exception of those from Gough Island during the incubation stage. We found substantial variability in trip duration and foraging range among breeding stages and islands, consistent use of areas among years and spatial segregation of the areas used by neighbouring islands. For colonies with no or insufficient tracking data, we defined marine IBAs based on the mean maximum foraging range and merged the areas identified to propose IBAs around the Tristan da Cunha archipelago and Gough Island. The 2 proposed marine IBAs encompass 2% of Tristan da Cunha’s EEZ, and are used by all northern rockhopper penguins breeding in the Tristan da Cunha group, representing ~90% of the global population. Currently, one of the main threats to northern rockhopper penguins within the Tristan da Cunha EEZ is marine pollution from shipping, and the risk of this would be reduced by declaring waters within 50 nautical miles of the coast as ‘areas to be avoided’.
  • Global population and conservation status of the Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus

    Langlois Lopez, Samuel; Bond, AL; O’Hanlon, Nina J; Wilson, Jared M; Vitz, Andrew; Mostello, Carolyn S; Hamilton, Frederick; Rail, Jean-François; Welch, Linda; Boettcher, Ruth; et al. (Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2022-05-13)
    The Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus is a generalist species that inhabits temperate and arctic coasts of the north Atlantic Ocean. In recent years, there has been growing concern about population declines at local and regional scales; however, there has been no attempt to robustly assess Great Black-backed Gull population trends across its global range. We obtained the most recent population counts across the species’ range and analysed population trends at a global, continental, and national scale over the most recent three-generation period (1985–2021) following IUCN Red List criteria. We found that, globally, the species has declined by 43%–48% over this period (1.2–1.3% per annum, respectively), from an estimated 291,000 breeding pairs to 152,000–165,000 breeding pairs under two different scenarios. North American populations declined more steeply than European ones (68% and 28%, respectively). We recommend that Great Black-backed Gull should be uplisted from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species under criterion A2 (an estimated reduction in population size >30% over three generations).
  • Tracking the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic-related debris on wildlife using digital platforms

    Ammendolia, Justine; Saturno, Jacquelyn; Bond, AL; O'Hanlon, Nina J; Masden, Elizabeth A; James, Neil A; Jacobs, Shoshanah (Elsevier BV, 2022-07-25)
    Since the start of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19) pandemic in December 2019, there have been global surges of single-use plastic use. Due to the importance of personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation items in protecting against virus transmission and from testing, facemasks, respirators, disposable gloves and disposable wet wipes have become global staples in households and institutions. Widespread use and insufficient infrastructure, combined with improper waste management have resulted in an emerging category of litter. With widespread presence in the environment, such items pose a direct threat to wildlife as animals can interact with them in a series of ways. We examined the scope of COVID-19 pandemic-related debris, including PPE and sanitation items, on wildlife from April 2020 to December 2021. We document the geographic occurrence of incidents, debris types, and consequences of incidents that were obtained from social media searches, unpublished reports from colleagues, and reports available from the citizen science database "Birds and Debris". There were 114 unique sightings of wildlife interactions with pandemic-related debris (38 from 2020 and 76 from 2021). Within the context of this dataset, most incidents involved birds (83.3 %), while fewer affected mammals (10.5 %), invertebrates (3.5 %), fish (1.8 %), and sea turtles (0.9 %). Sightings originated in 23 countries, and consisted mostly of entanglements (42.1 %) and nest incorporations (40.4 %). We verified sightings by contacting the original observers and were able to identify replicated sightings and increase the resolution of the data collected compared with previously published results. Due to the complexities associated with global use and accessibility of digital platforms, we likely underestimate the number of animals harmed by debris. Overall, the global scope of this study demonstrates that online and social media platforms are a valuable way to collect biologically relevant citizen science data and track rapidly emerging environmental challenges.
  • Temporal trends and interannual variation in plastic ingestion by Flesh-footed Shearwaters (Ardenna carneipes) using different sampling strategies

    Lavers, Jennifer L; Hutton, Ian; Bond, AL (Elsevier BV, 2021-12)
    The world's oceans are under increasing pressure from anthropogenic activities, including significant and rapidly increasing inputs of plastic pollution. Seabirds have long been considered sentinels of ocean health, providing data on physical and chemical pollutants in their marine habitats. However, long-term data that can elucidate important patterns and changes in seabird exposure to marine pollutants are relatively limited but are urgently needed to identify and support effective policy measures to reduce plastic waste. Using up to 12 years of data, we examined the benefits and challenges of different approaches to monitoring plastic in seabirds, and the relationship between plastic and body size parameters. We found the mass and number of ingested plastics per bird varied by sample type, with lavage and road-kill birds containing less plastic (9.17-9.33 pieces/bird) than beach-washed or otherwise dead birds (27.62-32.22 pieces/bird). Beached birds therefore provide data for only a particular subset of the population, mostly individuals in poorer body condition, including those severely impacted by plastics. In addition, the mass and number of plastics in beached birds were more variable, therefore the sample sizes required to detect a change in plastic over time were significantly larger than for lavaged birds. The use of lavaged birds is rare in studies of plastic ingestion due to ethical and methodological implications, and we recommend future work on ingested plastics should focus on sampling this group to ensure data are more representative of a population's overall exposure to plastics.

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