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William Montevecchi

Room Number: SN2081
Telephone: (709) 737-7673
Unit: Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology

Research Interests


William Montevecchi



As a University Research Professor of Psychology, Biology and Ocean Sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland, I engage a long-term interdisciplinary ecosystem research program focused on the behavioural ecology of marine and terrestrial birds. Students, post-doctoral fellows and assistants working in my lab focus our research studies on environmental influences on animal behaviour and ecology. We explore multi-species interactions in dynamic Low Arctic and Boreal ecosystems and assess the use of animal responses as indicators of prey and ecosystem conditions. We collaborate with oceanographers, fisheries research scientists and seabird biologists from across Canada, the USA, Europe, Australia and Africa. Our research is conservation-oriented in perspective and activity and is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Current research projects use micro-chip GPS and physical data loggers attached to free-ranging marine birds to study their foraging tactics and migratory ecology. Decadal studies of the dietary variability of seabirds are relate to changing oceanographic and prey conditions. A large scale interdisciplinary NSERC Strategic Research Project in collaboration with the University of Manitoba, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Newfoundland fishers is directed at the ecology of capelin, the primary forage fish of large vertebrate predators in the Northwest Atlantic.

Much of this research is carried out on and around Funk Island Ecological Reserve, the site of the Common Murre's largest colony, a large Northern Gannet colony, and the largest colony of Northern Fulmars in Atlantic Canada. Funk Island is also the site of the largest known colony of the extinct Great Auk.

We also work directly with fishers and hunters to study animal behaviour and ecology and to engage conservation activity. A substantial research effort is directed at effects of oil pollution on seabirds in the NW Atlantic. We engage in vessel surveys to offshore platforms and survey coastal beaches for seabird distributions and carcasses associated with illegal oil discharges and spills.

Selected Publications (see Dr. Montevecchi’s website to access electronic journal articles)

Montevecchi, W.A. (2006) Influences of artificial light on marine birds.  In: C. Rich and T. Longcore (Editors) Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting.  Island Press, Washington, D.C.

Montevecchi, W.A., H. Chaffey and C. Burke. (2006) Hunting for patterns of marine bird hunt in Newfoundland and Labrador.  In: C. Parrish, S. Solberg and N. Turner (Editors).  Resetting the Kitchen Table: Food Security in Canadian Coastal Communities.  Nova Science: Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Montevecchi, W.A., S. Garthe and G.K. Davoren. (2006) Biophysical influences on seabird trophic assessments.  In:  I.L. Boyd (Editor) Indications from Top Predators about Prey and Ecosystem Conditions.  Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom: in press.

Montevecchi, W.A., and J. Wells.  (2006) Local names of birds in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Regional Language Studies ... Newfoundland: invited.

Davoren, G.K., J.T. Anderson and W.A. Montevecchi. (2006). Habitat utilization by spawning capelin Mallotus villosus off the northeast coast of Newfoundland.  Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.  63, 268-284. 

Burke, C.M., G.K. Davoren, W.A. Montevecchi and F.K. Wiese. (2005) Surveys of seabirds along support vessel transects and at oil platforms on the Grand Banks.  Pages 587-614 in:  P.J. Cransford and K. Lee (Editors).   Offshore Oil and Gas Environmental Effects Monitoring.  Battele Press, Columbus, Ohio.

Montevecchi, W.A.  (2004)  Review of Seabird Bycatch: Trends, Roadblocks, and Solutions.  E.F. Melvin and J.K. Parrish (Editors).  Auk 121:  627-628.

Chaulk, K.G., G.J. Robertson and W.A. Montevecchi. (2004) Recent population increases in Common Eiders breeding in Labrador.  Journal of Wildlife Management, 69, 750-754.

Chaulk, K.G., G.J. Robertson and W.A. Montevecchi. (2004) Breeding range update for three seabird species in Labrador.  Northeastern Naturalist 11: 479-485.

Stenhouse, I.J., H.G. Gilchrist and W.A. Montevecchi. (2004) Anti-predator behaviour of Sabine's Gulls (Xema sabini) during breeding.  Journal of Ethology, 23, 103-108.

Garthe, S., W.A. Montevecchi, U. Ojowksi and I.J. Stenhouse. (2004) European immigrants in the New World:  Diets of Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) chicks in the recently colonized North-west Atlantic.  Polar Biology. 27: 277-280. 

Stenhouse, I.J., H.G. Gilchrist and W.A. Montevecchi. (2004) Reproductive investment and parental roles in Sabine's Gulls Xema sabiniJournal of Ethology. 22: 85-89.

Wren, L.S. and W.A. Montevecchi. (2004) COSEWIC Status Report: Newfoundland Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra percna).  Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), Ottawa.

Montevecchi, W.A. (2003) Unsound comments about Smith Sound.  UBC Fisheries Centre Fish Bytes 9(2): 2.

Montevecchi, W.A.  (2003) Great Auk.  In: S. Krech III, J.R. McNeill and C. Merchant (Editors). Encyclopedia of World Environmental History, Volume 1.  Routledge, New York.

Montevecchi, W.A. and D.K. Cairns.  (2003) Predation by gannets on post-smolt Atlantic salmon:  Research implications and research opportunities.  Pages 61-77 in D.H. Mills (Editor).  Salmon at the Edge.  Blackwell Science, Oxford, U.K.

Montevecchi, W.A. and I.J. Stenhouse.  (2003) Dovekie (Alle alle).  In:  A. Poole and F. Gill (Editors.)  The Birds of North America.  No. 701.  American Ornithologists’ Union and Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.

Davoren, G.K., W.A. Montevecchi and J.T. Anderson.  (2003)  Search strategies of a pursuit-diving marine bird and the persistence of prey patches.  Ecological Monographs 73: 463-481.

Davoren, G.K. and W.A Montevecchi. (2003) Signals from seabirds indicate changing biology of capelin biology. Marine Ecology Progress Series: 258:253-261.

Davoren, G.K., W.A. Montevecchi and J.T. Anderson. (2003) Distributional patterns of a marine bird and its prey: habitat selection based on prey and conspecific behaviour. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 256:229-242.  

Dominguez, L., W.A. Montevecchi, J. Brazil, N.M. Burgess and K.A. Hobson. (2003) Reproductive success, environmental contaminants and diets of nesting Bald Eagles from Placentia and Bonavista Bays, Newfoundland. Journal of Raptor Research 39:209-218.

Mactavish, B., J.E. Maunder, W.A. Montevecchi, J. Wells and D. Fifield. (2003) Checklist of the Birds of Insular Newfoundland and Its Continental Shelf Waters. Newfoundland and Labrador Natural History Society, St. John’s.

Davoren, G.K. and W.A. Montevecchi. (2003) Consequences of foraging trip duration on provisioning behaviour and fledging condition of Common Murres. Journal of Avian Biology 34: 44-53. pdf

Garthe, S., S. Benvenuti and W.A. Montevecchi. (2003) Temporal patterns of foraging activities of Northern Gannets Morusbassanus in the Northwest Atlantic. Canadian Journal of Zoology 81: 453-461.

Thompson, I.D., D.J. Larsen and W.A. Montevecchi. (2003) Characterization of old "wet boreal" forests, with an example from balsam fir forests of western Newfoundland. Environmental Reviews, 11: S23-S46.

Montevecchi, W.A.  (2002) Foreword. Studies of High-Latitude Seabirds. 5. Monitoring Thick-billed Murres in the Eastern Canadian Arctic, 1976-2000 by A.J. Gaston. Canadian Wildlife Service Occasional Paper. No. 106.

Montevecchi, W.A.and D.K.Cairns. (2002) Episodic predation on post-smolt Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) by Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) in the Northwest Atlantic. North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission Technical Report 4:48-50.

Montevecchi, W.A., D.K.Cairns and R.A. Myers. (2002) Predation on marine-phase Atlanticsalmon by Gannets (Morus bassanus) in the Northwest Atlantic. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. 59: 602-612.

Davoren, G.K., W.A. Montevecchi and J.T. Anderson. (2002) Scale-dependent associations of predators and prey: constraints imposed by flightlessness of Common Murres during the pre- and post-breeding periods. Marine Ecology Progress Series. 245:259-272.

Montevecchi, W.A.   (2001).  Interactions between fisheries and seabirds.  Pages 527-557 in:  E.A. Schrieber and J. Burger (Editors).  The Biology of Marine Birds.  CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Montevecchi, W.A.   (2001)   Seabirds as indicators of ocean pollution.  In:  J. Steele, S. Thorpe and K. Turekian (Editors).  Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences.  Academic Press, London.

Montevecchi, W.A. and F.K. Wiese.  (2001)  Protecting marine birds and mammals in the Northwest Atlantic:  Presentation to the White Rose Offshore Oil Development Public Hearing.  Osprey 32: 63-65.

Stenhouse, I.J., H.G. Gilchrist and W.A. Montevecchi.  (2001) Reproductive biology of Sabine’s Gull on South Hampton Island, Eastern Canadian Arctic.  Condor, 103: 98-107.

Wiese, F.K., W.A. Montevecchi, G.K. Davoren, F. Huettman, A.W. Diamond and J. Linke.  (2001)  Seabirds at risk around offshore oil platforms in the Northwest Atlantic.  Marine Pollution Bulletin 42: 1285-1290.

Montevecchi, W.A.  (2000)  Seabirds.  In: A. Bundy, G.R. Lilly and P.A. Shelton (Editors)  A Mass Balance Model of the Newfoundland-Labrador Shelf.  Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2310: 15-18.

Garthe, S., S. Benvenuti and W.A. Montevecchi.  (2000)  Pursuit-plunging by Gannets (Sula bassanus) feeding on Capelin (Mallotus villosus).  Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 267: 1717-1722

Gosse, J.W. and W.A. Montevecchi. (2000) Relative abundances of woodland birds of prey in western Newfoundland.  Canadian Field-Naturalist: 115: 57-63.

Rodway, M.S., J.W. Gosse, I. Fong, W.A. Montevecchi, S.G. Gilliland and B. Turner. (2000)  Abundance, habitat use, activity patterns and foraging behaviour of Harlequin Ducks breeding in Hebron Fjord, Labrador in 1996.  Canadian Wildlife Service Atlantic Region Technical Report 350: 125 pp.

Setterington, M.A., I.D. Thompson and W.A. Montevecchi.  (2000)  Woodpecker abundance and  habitat use in mature balsam fir forests in Newfoundland.  Journal of Wildlife Management 64: 335-345.

Stenhouse, I.J. and W.A. Montevecchi.  (2000)  Habitat utilization by Leach’s Storm-Petrels on Great Island, Newfoundland:  the importance of sociality.  Canadian Journal of Zoology: 78: 1267-1274.

Stenhouse, I.J., G. J. Robertson and W.A. Montevecchi.  (2000)  Herring Gull predation on Leach’s Storm-Petrels breeding on Great Island, Newfoundland.  Atlantic Seabirds, 2: 35-44.

Tasker, M.L., K. Camphuysen, J. Cooper, S. Garthe, W.A. Montevecchi and S. Blaber.  (2000)  The effects of fisheries on marine birds.  ICES Journal of Marine Science: 57: 531-547.

Whitaker, D.M., A. Carroll and W.A. Montevecchi.  (2000)  Elevated numbers of flying insects and insectivorous birds in riparian buffer strips.  Canadian Journal of Zoology 78: 740-748.

Montevecchi, W.A.  (1999)  Godspeed (National CBC Radio Commentary).  Osprey 30: 48-49.

Broders, H.G., S.P. Mahoney, W.A. Montevecchi and W.S. Davidson.  (1999)  Population genetic structure and the effect of founder events on the genetic variability of moose, Alces alces, in Canada.  Molecular Ecology 8: 1309-1315.

Lewis, K.E.P. and W.A. Montevecchi.  (1999)  Predation on different-sized quail eggs in an artificial nest study in western Newfoundland.  Canadian Journal of Zoology 77: 1170-1173.

Rodway, M.S., J.W. Chardine and W.A. Montevecchi. (1999)  Intra-colony variation in breeding performance of Atlantic Puffins on Great Island, Newfoundland. Colonial Waterbirds  21: 171-184.

Stenhouse, I.J. and W.A. Montevecchi.  (1999) Increasing and expanding populations of breeding Northern Fulmars, Fulmarus glacialis, in the Northwest Atlantic.  Colonial Waterbirds 22382-391.

Stenhouse, I.J. and W.A. Montevecchi.  (1999)  Indirect effects of the availability of forage fish and fisheries discards:  Gull predation on breeding storm-petrels.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 184:  303-307.

Thompson, I.D., H.A. Hogan and W.A. Montevecchi.  (1999) Avian communities of mature balsam fir forests in Newfoundland:  Age-dependence and implications for timber harvesting.   Condor 101: 311-323.

Whitaker, D.M. and W.A. Montevecchi.  (1999)  Breeding bird assemblages inhabiting undisturbed shorelines and riparian buffer strips in Newfoundland, Canada.  Journal of Wildlife Management 63: 167-179.

Regehr, H.M., M.S. Rodway and W.A. Montevecchi.  (1998)  Anti-predator benefits of nest-site selection in Black-legged Kittiwakes.  Canadian Journal of Zoology  76: 910-915.

Montevecchi, W.A. (1997)  Provehito in Altum:  Things that money cannot buy:  Tenure, responsibility and independent criticism. Pages 85-94 in:  J. Black (Editor)  The University As It Is/As It Could Be.  Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's.

Montevecchi, W.A. and R.A. Myers. (1997) Centurial and decadal oceanographic influences on changes in Northern Gannet populations and diets in the Northwest Atlantic: Implications for climate change. ICES Journal of Marine Science 54: 608-614.

Regehr, H.M. and W.A. Montevecchi. (1997) Interactive effects of food shortage and predation on breeding failures of Black-legged Kittiwakes: Indirect effects of fisheries activities and implications for indicator species.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 155: 249-260.

Whitaker, D.M. and W.A. Montevecchi.  (1997)  Effects of riparian and non-riparian edges on breeding bird assemblages in balsam fir forests in Newfoundland.  Canadian Journal of Forestry Research 27: 1159-1167.

 Copyright 2006.  Department of Psychology, Memorial University of Newfoundland.