Researcher Spotlight Series: Michelle Fitzsimmons

By Michelle Fitzsimmons, Memorial University Posted November 19, 2018 Editor’s Note: In our Research Spotlight Series we shine a light on exciting research in our province. In this post we showcase Michelle Fitzsimmons who recently defended her PhD thesis in the Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology Graduate Program, Memorial University. My research focused on investigating the behavioural and physiological responses of Atlantic puffins to changing food resources. I studied puffins in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve in Newfoundland and Labrador, which is home to the largest breeding colony of Atlantic puffins in North America. Over a period of four breeding seasons, I conducted two separate food supplementation studies, in which natural prey abundance also fluctuated greatly. Infra-red video cameras and Passive Integrated Transponder tags were used to identify parents and observe provisioning behaviour and parent-chick interactions. Researcher Michelle Fitzsimmons. Sex differences in parental provisioning effort were identified, revealing that female parents provisioned…

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Naturalist Sightings

By Justin So A red fox was observed bounding across sea ice to get at a colony of puffins in Elliston, NL (Photo by Rodolphe Devillers). Over the last few weeks there have been more than a few interesting nature sightings around our province.  Check out below some fascinating wildlife stories in the news and online. • Elliston, NL is one of the best places to view our provincial bird, the Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica). A fox was filmed by Rodolphe Devillers trying to get a meal of puffin. The fox bounds across the sea ice and cliffs to find a way up, but is ultimately not successful at getting at the puffins. • In late May, Gerard Gale in Black Duck Siding in western Newfoundland, captured video of a white piebald moose (Alces alces) as close as three feet away. These moose are predominantly white in colour with spots of pigment…

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