Ecology Dissertation Ideas

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Ecology Dissertation Idea(1)

The Effects of Artificial Light Pollution on Foraging Activity on Daubenton’s Bats

With increased urbanisation globally, light pollution has become a more prominent issue for wildlife with issues ranging from disorientation to loss of habitat. The behavioural changes impact foraging and reproduction for many species. Bats have been selected for this ecology dissertation idea since they are nocturnal and are impacted differently by artificial light prominence. The Daubenton’s bat feeds on rivers which can make them more susceptible to changes in environment

This ecology dissertation idea can feature analysis of estimated population of Daubenton’s bats against light pollution. Afterall, evidence suggests that Northern Ireland has a higher population of Daubenton’s bats than the rest of the UK. Interestingly, Northern Ireland registers lower light pollution than much of the UK. We recommend that this ecology dissertation idea is developed by testing the hypothesis that there is a negative correlation between the artificial light an d the foraging activity of Daubenton’s bat

Recommended Sources:

Longcore, T., & Rich, C. (2004). Ecological light pollution. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

Russ, J. (1999). The bats of Britain and Ireland. Echolocation calls, sound analysis and species identification. Powys: Alana Books

Rydell, J & Racey, P.A. (1995). Streetlamps and the feeding ecology of insectivorous bats. In Symposia of the zoological society of London

Ecology Dissertation Idea(2)

The Calling Rate of the Fin Whale and How This Changes Diurnally and in Relation to Seismic Survey Airguns

The population of Fin whales has declined over 70% since the late 1920s. This decline has been attributed to an increase in anthropogenic activity in oceanic systems. It is important to recognise the root cause of the trend in order to find remedial ways of helping the population to grow again

Anthropogenic noise in the ocean has implications on the health and activity of baleen whales, inclusive of the fin whale. Sound pollution from seismic exploration and commercial vessels can cause changes in whale foraging and mating activity due to the noise pollution preventing male breeding calls from reaching females. This ecology dissertation idea will necessitate acoustical recordings to be collected to optimise the understanding of how fin whales respond to seismic survey vessels in addition to diurnal variation in the volume of calls they emit. The Galician cost of Spain is a viable candidate for conducting your survey as the Mediterranean fin whale if present all year in the region. Previous studies have been conducted in this area and can serve as an anchor for your own ecological research

We recommend conducting your survey by firing two airguns that can be secured to the rear of a seismic survey vessel. Ocean Bottom Seismometers can be used to record acoustical information which will need to be analysed using statistical software. The analysis should investigate how the number of fin whale calls varies when the airguns are being fired compared to when the airguns were not being used

Recommended sources:

Castellote, M., Clark, C.W. and Lammers, M.O. 2011. Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) population identity in the western Mediterranean Sea. Marine Mammal Science

Croll, D.A., Clark, C.W., Calambokidis, J., Ellison, W.T. and Tershy, B.R. 2001. Effect of anthropogenic low-frequency noise on the foraging ecology of Balaenoptera whales. Animal Conservation

David, L., Alleaume, S. and Guinet, C. 2011. Evaluation of the potential of collision between fin whales and maritime traffic in the north-western Mediterranean Sea in summer, and mitigation solutions. Journal of Marine Animals and Their Ecology

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