Peter G. Ryan

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Plastic debris has significant environmental and economic impacts in marine systems. Monitoring is crucial to assess the efficacy of measures implemented to reduce the abundance of plastic debris, but it is complicated by large spatial and temporal heterogeneity in the amounts of plastic debris and by our limited understanding of the pathways followed by(More)
Plastic pollution is ubiquitous throughout the marine environment, yet estimates of the global abundance and weight of floating plastics have lacked data, particularly from the Southern Hemisphere and remote regions. Here we report an estimate of the total number of plastic particles and their weight floating in the world's oceans from 24 expeditions(More)
The deep divergence between the African endemic passerines Picathartidae (rockfowl Picathartes and rockjumpers Chaetops, four species) and the Passerida (ca. 3500 species) suggests an older history of oscines on the African continent than has previously been assumed. In order to determine whether any additional, unexpectedly deep lineages occur in African(More)
Island populations provide natural laboratories for studying key contributors to evolutionary change, including natural selection, population size and the colonization of new environments. The demographic histories of island populations can be reconstructed from patterns of genetic diversity. House mice (Mus musculus) inhabit islands throughout the globe,(More)
Robertskollen is a group of geologically similar nunataks in western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica, with breeding colonies of snow petrels Pagodroma nivea at some of the nunataks. Transects determining macro-plant structure and cover were conducted along an a priori determined bird-influence gradient to assess the relative importance of ornithogenic(More)
Papyrus Cyperus papyrus swamps are characteristic of many wetlands of tropical Africa. Like most wetland habitats worldwide, they are under human pressure due to harvesting and reclamation for agriculture. Changes in papyrus cover were assessed using aerial photographs at three Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the Kenyan sector of Lake Victoria. Papyrus area(More)
I compare plastic ingested by five species of seabirds sampled in the 1980s and again in 1999-2006. The numbers of ingested plastic particles have not changed significantly, but the proportion of virgin pellets has decreased 44-79% in all five species: great shearwater Puffinus gravis, white-chinned petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis, broad-billed prion(More)
The house mouse, Mus musculus, is one of the most widespread and well-studied invasive mammals on islands. It was thought to pose little risk to seabirds, but video evidence from Gough Island, South Atlantic Ocean shows house mice killing chicks of two IUCN-listed seabird species. Mouse-induced mortality in 2004 was a significant cause of extremely poor(More)
Worldwide fisheries generate large volumes of fishery waste and it is often assumed that this additional food is beneficial to populations of marine top-predators. We challenge this concept via a detailed study of foraging Cape gannets Morus capensis and of their feeding environment in the Benguela upwelling zone. The natural prey of Cape gannets (pelagic(More)
T he Antarctic Treaty System, acknowledged as a successful model of cooperative regulation of one of the globe’s largest commons ( 1), is under substantial pressure. Concerns have been raised about increased stress on Antarctic systems from global environmental change and growing interest in the region’s resources ( 2, 3). Although policy-makers may(More)