Students & Associates
Rowen is a behavioural ecologist
with a special interest on the use of miniaturized tags which relay or log
information on animal movement, behaviour and environmental variables to
understand where species go, the threats that they face and the interactions
they have with their habitat. By decrypting the decisions animals make and by
learning how they utilize their environment, Rowen’s work aims to inform on how
to conserve species by mitigating negative interactions with humans or by
conserving their habitats and food resources.
His Masters from the University of Cape Town focused on the foraging ecology of
African Penguins in relation to fine scale ocean physical process. The work
demonstrated how African Penguins make informed decisions when foraging in
relation to temperature cues such as sea surface temperature and sub surface
thermal fronts, to locate cool nutrient rich waters where prey abundance is
presumed to be higher in response to increased primary production.
He is now working towards his Doctorate on Martial Eagle conservation in the
Kruger National Park to understand the causative agents that are responsible
for a steep decline in the population. The work assess habitat use and breeding
success of martial eagles in Kruger and has a sharp focus on a tracking study
of sub-adult dispersal and habitat use, which is currently poorly understood.
Outside of protected areas martial eagles are prone to persecution by farmers
who perceive the birds to be a threat to small livestock. One aim of the
project is to determine if increased un-natural mortality of sub-adult martial
eagles, which may disperse out of the park and into neighbouring farmlands
where they are at risk of persecution, are the reason that populations within
Kruger are declining, as recruitment back into the breeding population is
likely to decrease as a result of these mortalities.
Understanding the cause of Martial Eagle
declines in the Kruger National Park, South Africa (Supervisor:
Pichegru, L., Ryan, P.G., van Eeden, R., Reid, T., Gremillet, D and Wanless, R.
2011. Industrial fishing, no-take zones and endangered penguins. Biological
Kaplan, B.S., O’Riain, J.M., van Eeden, R. and King, A.J. 2011. A low-cost
manipulation of food resources reduces spatial overlap between baboons (Papio
ursinus) and human conflict. International Journal of Primatology
Copyright: Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology 2013
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