Now showing items 21-40 of 1068

    • Notes on a recently described subspecies, and the poorly known nominate subspecies of Rüppell's Parrot, Poicephalus rueppellii mariettae and P. r. rueppellii

      Hubers, Jos; Schnitker, Heinz; van Grouw, Hein (British Ornithologists' Club, 2023-03-06)
      Rüppell’s Parrot Poicephalus rueppellii was until recently considered to be a monotypic species. Birds from parts of north-western and west-central Angola, however, differ significantly in colour and size from the better-known populations across the rest of their range, which fact was overlooked until very recently. Because the name rueppellii was originally applied to the less-known Angolan population, it was the commoner southern population that lacked a taxonomic identity. The latter was described as Poicephalus rueppellii mariettae Hubers & Schnitker, 2022.
    • The colourful journey of the Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto

      van Grouw, Hein (British Ornithologists' Club, 2022-06-03)
      In the 18th and 19th centuries the Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto was widely considered to be the wild ancestor of the domesticated Barbary Dove (domestic S. risoria), and even following its recognition as a species its taxonomic status was a source of confusion. Since 1900, and the species’ massive geographic expansion (both naturally and by introduction) the two taxa have occasionally met. The resultant hybridisation is probably the cause of the large number of Eurasian Collared Doves with the aberrant pale colour of Barbary Doves in areas where hybridisation has occurred.
    • Deadly and venomous Lonomia caterpillars are more than the two usual suspects

      González, Camila; Ballesteros-Mejia, Liliana; Díaz-Díaz, Juana; Toro-Vargas, Diana M; Amarillo-Suarez, Angela R; Gey, Delphine; León, Cielo; Tovar, Eduardo; Arias, Mónica; Rivera, Nazario; et al. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2023-02-23)
      Caterpillars of the Neotropical genus Lonomia (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae) are responsible for some fatal envenomation of humans in South America inducing hemostatic disturbances in patients upon skin contact with the caterpillars’ spines. Currently, only two species have been reported to cause hemorrhagic syndromes in humans: Lonomia achelous and Lonomia obliqua. However, species identifications have remained largely unchallenged despite improved knowledge of venom diversity and growing evidence that the taxonomy used over past decades misrepresents and underestimates species diversity. Here, we revisit the taxonomic diversity and distribution of Lonomia species using the most extensive dataset assembled to date, combining DNA barcodes, morphological comparisons, and geographical information. Considering new evidence for seven undescribed species as well as three newly proposed nomenclatural changes, our integrative approach leads to the recognition of 60 species, of which seven are known or strongly suspected to cause severe envenomation in humans. From a newly compiled synthesis of epidemiological data, we also examine the consequences of our results for understanding Lonomia envenomation risks and call for further investigations of other species’ venom activities. This is required and necessary to improve alertness in areas at risk, and to define adequate treatment strategies for envenomed patients, including performing species identification and assessing the efficacy of anti-Lonomia serums against a broader diversity of species.
    • Review of the Papuan millipede genus Acanthiulus Gervais, 1844 (Diplopoda: Spirobolida: Pachybolidae)

      Golovatch, Srgei I; Akkari, Nesrine; Goud, Jeroen; Telnov, Dmitry (The Entomological Society of Latvia, 2021)
      The genus Acanthiulus, which has hitherto been known to comprise three accepted species or subspecies endemic to the Papuan region, is revised, rediagnosed and shown to include only a single, quite variable species, A. blainvillei (Leguillou, 1841), with A. blainvillei septemtrionalis Attems, 1914 and A. wollastoni Hirst, 1914 both considered as its new subjective junior synonyms, syn. nov. Pronounced morphological variations, all clearly illustrated here, concern only peripheral characters, but the gonopodal structure remains very stable. Three morphs are distinguished: A, B and C. The distribution of A. blainvillei is mapped, the genus and species apparently being restricted to the Aru Archipelago, East Indonesia and much of New Guinea, both Indonesian and Papua New Guinea. Certain clinal variation patterns and an evolutionary scenario can be suggested in the distribution and polymorphism of the widespread species A. blainvillei at the northern periphery and in the centre of its distribution area.
    • Sequence locally, think globally: The Darwin Tree of Life Project

      The Darwin Tree of Life Project Consortium (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022-01-25)
      The goals of the Earth Biogenome Project—to sequence the genomes of all eukaryotic life on earth—are as daunting as they are ambitious. The Darwin Tree of Life Project was founded to demonstrate the credibility of these goals and to deliver at-scale genome sequences of unprecedented quality for a biogeographic region: the archipelago of islands that constitute Britain and Ireland. The Darwin Tree of Life Project is a collaboration between biodiversity organizations (museums, botanical gardens, and biodiversity institutes) and genomics institutes. Together, we have built a workflow that collects specimens from the field, robustly identifies them, performs sequencing, generates high-quality, curated assemblies, and releases these openly for the global community to use to build future science and conservation efforts.
    • Attenuated evolution of mammals through the Cenozoic

      Goswami, Anjali; Noirault, Eve; Coombs, Ellen J; Clavel, Julien; Fabre, Anne-Claire; Halliday, Thomas JD; Churchill, Morgan; Curtis, Abigail; Watanabe, Akinobu; Simmons, Nancy B; et al. (American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2022-10-28)
      The Cenozoic diversification of placental mammals is the archetypal adaptive radiation. Yet, discrepancies between molecular divergence estimates and the fossil record fuel ongoing debate around the timing, tempo, and drivers of this radiation. Analysis of a three-dimensional skull dataset for living and extinct placental mammals demonstrates that evolutionary rates peak early and attenuate quickly. This long-term decline in tempo is punctuated by bursts of innovation that decreased in amplitude over the past 66 million years. Social, precocial, aquatic, and herbivorous species evolve fastest, especially whales, elephants, sirenians, and extinct ungulates. Slow rates in rodents and bats indicate dissociation of taxonomic and morphological diversification. Frustratingly, highly similar ancestral shape estimates for placental mammal superorders suggest that their earliest representatives may continue to elude unequivocal identification.
    • The rangeomorph Pectinifrons abyssalis: Hydrodynamic function at the dawn of animal life

      Darroch, Simon AF; Gutarra Diaz, Susana V.; Masaki, Hale; Olaru, Andrei; Gibson, Brandt M; Dunn, Frances S; Mitchell, Emily G; Racicot, Rachel A; Burzynski, Gregory; Rahman, Imran (Elsevier BV, 17/02/2023)
      Rangeomorphs are among the oldest putative eumetazoans known from the fossil record. Establishing how they fed is thus key to understanding the structure and function of the earliest animal ecosystems. Here, we use computational fluid dynamicstotesthypothesizedfeedingmodesforthefence-likerangeomorphPectinifrons abyssalis, comparing this to the morphologically similar extant carnivorous sponge Chondrocladia lyra. Our results reveal complex patterns of flow around P. abyssalis unlike those previously reconstructed for any other Ediacaran taxon. Comparisons with C. lyra reveal substantial differences between the two organisms, suggesting they converged on a similar fence-like morphology for different functions. We argue that the flow patterns recovered for P. abyssalis do not support either a suspension feeding or osmotrophic feeding habit. Instead, our results indicate that rangeomorph fronds may represent organs adapted for gas exchange. If correct, this interpretation could require a dramatic reinterpretation of the oldest macroscopic animals.
    • Range extension of the Macroglossum pyrrhosticta Butler, 1875, in Northwestern India (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae)

      Farooqui, Shahabab A; Kitching, I; Parwez, Hina; Joshi, Rahul (Sociedad Hispano-Luso-Americana de Lepidopterologia, 2022-12-30)
      <During a faunistic survey of Lepidoptera in Sasni (27.7063º N, 78.0823º E; 181 m), Uttar Pradesh, a specimen of Macroglossum pyrrhosticta Butler, 1875, was collected and thus the species reported for the first time from the Gangetic Plains Biogeographic Zone of India, as well as North-West India as a whole. Details of the known larval host plants of M. pyrrhosticta are also provided, together with a checklist of the Indian species of genus Macroglossum Scopoli, 1777.
    • The Big Seaweed Search: Evaluating a citizen science project for a difficult to identify group of organisms

      Brodie, J; Kunzig, Sarah; Agate, Jules; Yesson, Chris; Robinson, Lucy (Wiley, 2023-01-04)
      1. The Big Seaweed Search invites people to survey UK seashores for 14 conspicuous seaweeds. The science investigates: (i) impact of sea temperature rise; (ii) spread of non-native species; and (iii) impact of ocean acidification. Survey data submitted between June 2016 and May 2020 were analysed to evaluate and explore project directions in relation to citizen science project development. 2. Of the 378 surveys submitted, 1,414 people participated, contributing 1,531 person hours. Surveys were undertaken around the UK, with the highest proportion (46.7%) in the south west and the lowest (3.7%) in the north east. After data verification, 1,007 (54%) records were accepted. Fucus serratus had the highest number of entries correctly identified (66%) and Undaria pinnatifida the lowest (5%), inferring that at least some seaweeds can be difficult to identify, although the overall misidentification rate was relatively low (c. 15%). 3. Apart from Alaria esculenta, U. pinnatifida and Saccharina latissima, the large brown seaweeds were abundant on at least some shores. Non-natives Sargassum muticum and Asparagopsis armata, were band-forming but in low numbers. Coralline algae, whilst band-forming on some shores, were most commonly patchy or sparse in abundance. Revisits, i.e. repeat surveys, at the same site with an interval of at least 1 year, are relatively low, with 18 sites revisited once and three sites revisited twice. 4. Currently, data are insufficient to determine whether any changes in abundance could be detected. 5. This study highlights areas where project developments can enhance data quality and quantity, e.g. better identification resources, training programmes for dedicated volunteers, and an annual focus week of activities. The project framed around climate change impacts, aims to raise awareness of the ecological importance of, and threats faced by, this understudied habitat and introduce conservation concepts including the need to protect common species showing signs of decline.
    • Land use and soil characteristics affect soil organisms differently from above-ground assemblages

      Burton, VJ; Contu, Sara; De Palma, A; Hill, Samantha LL; Albrecht, Harald; Bone, James S; Carpenter, Daniel; Corstanje, Ronald; De Smedt, Pallieter; Farrell, Mark; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-11-17)
      Background Land-use is a major driver of changes in biodiversity worldwide, but studies have overwhelmingly focused on above-ground taxa: the effects on soil biodiversity are less well known, despite the importance of soil organisms in ecosystem functioning. We modelled data from a global biodiversity database to compare how the abundance of soil-dwelling and above-ground organisms responded to land use and soil properties. Results We found that land use affects overall abundance differently in soil and above-ground assemblages. The abundance of soil organisms was markedly lower in cropland and plantation habitats than in primary vegetation and pasture. Soil properties influenced the abundance of soil biota in ways that differed among land uses, suggesting they shape both abundance and its response to land use. Conclusions Our results caution against assuming models or indicators derived from above-ground data can apply to soil assemblages and highlight the potential value of incorporating soil properties into biodiversity models.
    • 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.
    • Evaluation and recommendations for greater accessibility of colour figures in ornithology

      Pollet, Ingrid L; Bond, AL (Wiley, 2020-09-30)
      People who are colour-blind or have some form of colour vision deficiency form an invisible minority and scientists should strive to be as inclusive as possible. We reviewed 2873 figures published in 2019 from 1031 scientific papers in 27 ornithological journals to determine those that were colour-blind compatible, and those that were black-and-white printer friendly. About 26% of the published figures were in colour, and while most were colour-blind compatible, only ~ 60% of them were black-and-white printer friendly. Ensuring figures in all forms of scientific communication can be interpreted by readers who are colour-blind, and can be printed in black-and-white will improve the accessibility of ornithological research.
    • The one-two punch of plastic exposure: Macro- and micro-plastics induce multi-organ damage in seabirds

      Rivers-Auty, Jack; Bond, AL; Grant, Megan L; Lavers, Jennifer (Elsevier BV, 2022-10-02)
      Plastic pollution in the world's oceans is ubiquitous and increasing. The environment is inundated with microplastics (< 1 mm), and the health effects of these less conspicuous pollutants is poorly known. In addition, there is now evidence that macroplastics can release microplastics in the form of shedding or digestive fragmentation, meaning there is potential for macroplastic exposure to induce direct and indirect pathology through microplastics. Therefore, there is an urgent need for data from wild populations on the relationship between macro- and microplastic exposure and the potential compounding pathological effects of these forms of plastics. We investigated the presence and impact of microplastics in multiple tissues from Flesh-footed Shearwaters Ardenna carneipes, a species that ingests considerable quantities of plastics, and used histopathological techniques to measure physiological responses and inflammation from the plastics. All organs examined (kidney, spleen, proventriculus) had embedded microplastic particles and this correlated with macroplastic exposure. Considerable tissue damage was recorded, including a significant reduction in tubular glands and rugae in the proventriculus, and evidence of inflammation, fibrosis, and loss of organ structures in the kidney and spleen. This indicates macroplastics can induce damage directly at the site of exposure, while microplastics can be mobilised throughout the body causing widespread pathology. Collectively, these results indicate the scope and severity of the health impacts of plastic pollution may be grossly underestimated.
    • Potential for redistribution of post‐moult habitat for Eudyptes penguins in the Southern Ocean under future climate conditions

      Green, Cara‐Paige; Green, David B; Ratcliffe, Norman; Thompson, David; Lea, Mary‐Anne; Baylis, Alastair MM; Bond, AL; Bost, Charles‐André; Crofts, Sarah; Cuthbert, Richard J; et al. (Wiley, 2022-10-24)
      Anthropogenic climate change is resulting in spatial redistributions of many species. We assessed the potential effects of climate change on an abundant and widely distributed group of diving birds, Eudyptes penguins, which are the main avian consumers in the Southern Ocean in terms of biomass consumption. Despite their abundance, several of these species have undergone population declines over the past century, potentially due to changing oceanography and prey availability over the important winter months. We used light-based geolocation tracking data for 485 individuals deployed between 2006 and 2020 across 10 of the major breeding locations for five taxa of Eudyptes penguins. We used boosted regression tree modelling to quantify post-moult habitat preference for southern rockhopper (E. chrysocome), eastern rockhopper (E. filholi), northern rockhopper (E. moseleyi) and macaroni/royal (E. chrysolophus and E. schlegeli) penguins. We then modelled their redistribution under two climate change scenarios, representative concentration pathways RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 (for the end of the century, 2071-2100). As climate forcings differ regionally, we quantified redistribution in the Atlantic, Central Indian, East Indian, West Pacific and East Pacific regions. We found sea surface temperature and sea surface height to be the most important predictors of current habitat for these penguins; physical features that are changing rapidly in the Southern Ocean. Our results indicated that the less severe RCP4.5 would lead to less habitat loss than the more severe RCP8.5. The five taxa of penguin may experience a general poleward redistribution of their preferred habitat, but with contrasting effects in the (i) change in total area of preferred habitat under climate change (ii) according to geographic region and (iii) the species (macaroni/royal vs. rockhopper populations). Our results provide further understanding on the regional impacts and vulnerability of species to climate change.
    • Long-term stability in the volume of Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) eggs in the western North Atlantic

      Lefort, Kyle J; Major, Heather L; Bond, AL; Diamond, Antony W; Jones, Ian L; Montevecchi, William A; Provencher, Jennifer F; Robertson, Gregory J (Canadian Science Publishing, 2021-04-29)
      In the eastern North Atlantic, declines in the volume of Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica (Linnaeus, 1758)) eggs have been associated with shifts in the marine ecosystem, such as changes in the abundance of forage fishes and increasing sea-surface temperatures. In the western North Atlantic, where similar shifts in oceanographic conditions and changes in the abundance of forage fishes have presumably occurred, trends in the volume of Atlantic Puffin eggs remain unknown. In this study, we investigate Atlantic Puffin egg volume in the western North Atlantic. We compiled 140 years (1877–2016) of egg volume measurements (n = 1805) and used general additive mixed-effects models to investigate temporal trends and regional variation. Our findings indicate that Atlantic Puffin egg volume differs regionally but has remained unchanged temporally in the western North Atlantic since at least the 1980s.
    • A standardised method for estimating the level of visible debris in bird nests

      Grant, Megan L; O'Hanlon, Nina J; Lavers, Jennifer L; Masden, Elizabeth A; James, Neil A; Bond, AL (Elsevier BV, 2021-11)
      Unlike records of plastic ingestion and entanglement in seabirds which date back to the 1960s, the literature regarding debris in bird nests is comparatively limited. It is important to identify standardised methods early so that data are collected in a consistent manner, ensuring that future studies can be comparable. Here, we outline a method that can be applied to photographs for estimating the proportion of visible debris at the surface of a nest. This method uses ImageJ software to superimpose a grid onto a photograph of a nest/s. The number of cells with and without debris are then counted. Our proposed method is repeatable, straightforward, and accessible. We optimised the method to estimate the level of visible debris in Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus) nests, however, with some modification (i.e., adjustment of grid cell size), it could be applied to other seabird species, and terrestrial birds, that incorporate debris within nests.