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William Montevecchi

B.A. Northeastern, M.Sc. Tulane, Ph.D. Rutgers

University Research Professor


Office: SN2081
Phone: (709) 864-7673
Email: mont@mun.ca
Web: play.psych.mun.ca/~mont/

Affiliations: Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology

Research Interests



William Montevecchi  


As a University Research Professor of Psychology, Biology and Ocean Sciences atMemorial 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. (2009 under review) Seabird Capitals: The Seabird Ecological Reserves of Newfoundland and Labrador. Flanker Press, St. John’s.

Buren, A.D., M. Koen-Alonso and W.A Montevecchi. (submitted) Shaping a free-ranging predators’ multispecies functional response. Oecologia.

Burke, C.M., W.A. Montevecchi and F. Wiese. (submitted) Seabird associations with offshore oil platforms in the Northwest Atlantic. Marine Ornithology.

Davoren, G.K., S. Garthe, W. A. Montevecchi and S. Benvenuti. (submitted) Influence of diel prey behaviour, prey type and whales on the foraging activities of a marine avian predator in a Low Arctic ecosystem. Journal of Zoology.

Fifield, D., W.A. Montevecchi, L.S. Wren, L. Rees, D.H. Steele and I. Thompson. (submitted) Recent occurrences, measurements and recordings of Red Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) in the island of Newfoundland. Auk.

Gaston, A.J., D.F. Bertram, A. Boyne, J. Chardine, G.K. Davoren, A.W. Diamond, H.G. Gilchrist, J.M. Hipfner, M.J.F. Lemon, M.L. Mallory, A. Hedd, W.A. Montevecchi, J.-F. Rail and G.J. Robertson. (under review) Some notes on seabirds as ecosystem indicators. Environmental Reviews.

Hedd, A., D.A. Fifield, C.M. Burke, W.A. Montevecchi, L. McFarlane-Tranquilla, P.M. Regular, and A.D. Buren. (submitted) Seasonal variation in the foraging niche of Northwest Atlantic puffins: Evidence from stable isotope (δ15N and δ13C) analysis. Marine Ecology Progress Series.

McFarlane-Tranquilla, L., A. Hedd, C.M. Burke, W.A. Montevecchi, P.M. Regular, G.J. Robertson, L. A. Stapleton, S. Wilhelm, D.A. Fifield and A.D. Buren. (submitted) High Arctic sea ice conditions influence marine birds wintering in Low Arctic regions. Global Change Biology.

Penton, P.M., G.K. Davoren, W.A. Montevecchiand D.W. Andrews. (under revision) Beach and demersal spawning in capelin (Mallotus villosus) on the northeast Newfoundland: egg development rates and mortality. Aquatic Sciences.

Regular, P.M., G.J. Robertson, W.A. Montevecchi, F. Shuhood, T. Power and J.F. Piatt. (2009 in revision) Human influences override effects of ocean climate change on seabird population trends. Journal of Applied Ecology.

Montevecchi, W.A., S. Benvenuti, S. Garthe and G.K. Davoren. (2009) Flexible foraging tactics of a large opportunistic seabird preying capelin Mallotus villosus and Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Marine Ecology Progress Series: in press.

Montevecchi, W.A., L. McFarlane-Tranquilla, P.A. Smith, A. Buren, C. Burke, D.A. Fifield and A. Hedd. (2009) Attending to device effects in studies of avian movement ecology. Science E-letter: www.sciencemag.org/cgi/eletters/323/5916/896

Burke, C.M. and W.A. Montevecchi. (2009) The foraging decisions of a central place foraging seabird in response to fluctuations in local prey conditions. Journal of Zoology 278: 354-361.

Hedd, A., W.A. Montevecchi, G.K. Davoren and D.A. Fifield. (2009) Parental diet and distribution of Leach’s Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa in the Northwest Atlantic. Canadian Journal of Zoology: in press.

Montevecchi, W.A. (2008) Sandy Pond giveaway. Osprey 39: 155-156.

Burke, C.M. and W.A. Montevecchi. (2008) Fish and chicks: Forage fish and chick success in two co-existing auks. Waterbirds 313: 372–384.

Heath, J.P. and W.A. Montevecchi. (2008) Differential use of similar habitat by Harlequin Ducks: Tradeoffs and implications for identifying critical habitat. Canadian Journal of Zoology 86: 419-426.

Heath, J.P., W.A. Montevecchi and G.J. Robertson. (2008) Allocation foraging effort across multiple time scales: Behavioral responses to different environmental conditions by Harlequin Ducks wintering at Cape St. Mary’s, Newfoundland. In: G.J. Robertson, P.W. Thomas, J.-P. Savard and K.A. Hobson (Editors) Harlequin Ducks in the Northwest Atlantic. Waterbirds 31 (Special Publication 2): 71-80.

Hedd, A., P.M. Regular, W.A. Montevecchi, C.M. Burke, A.D. Buren and D.A. Fifield. (2008) Going deep: Murres dive into sub-0°C water for aggregated, persistent and slow-moving capelin. Marine Biology 156: 741-751..

Regular, P.M., F. Shuhood, T. Power, W.A. Montevecchi, G.J. Robertson, D. Ballam, J.F. Piatt and B. Nakashima. (2008) Murres, capelin and oceanic climate: Inter-annual associations across a decadal shift. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment: in press. DOI10.1007/s10661-008-0484-2

Wells, J., P.M., Regular, F. Shuhood, T. Power and W.A. Montevecchi (2008) Field Checklist of the Birds of Cape St. Mary’s. Osprey 39: 76-85.

Montevecchi, W.A. (2007) Binary responses of Northern Gannets (Sula bassana) to changing food web and oceanographic conditions. Marine Ecology Progress Series 352: 213-220.

Montevecchi, W.A., H. Chaffey and C. Burke. (2007) Hunting for security: Changes in the exploitation of marine birds in Newfoundland and Labrador. Pages 99-116 in: C. Parrish, S. Solberg and N. Turner (Editors). Resetting the Kitchen Table: Food Security in Canadian Coastal Communities. Nova Science Publishers, New York, New York.

Mann, H. and W.A. Montevecchi. (2007) Tuck-Walters Awards. Osprey 38: 54-55.

Barrett, R.T., C.J. Camphuysen, J. Chardine, T. Anker-Nilssen, R.W. Furness, S. Garthe, O. Hüppop, M. Leopold, W.A. Montevecchi and R.Veit. (2007) Sampling methods for seabird dietary studies. ICES Journal of Marine Science 64: 1675-1691.

Chaulk, K.G., G.J. Robertson and W.A. Montevecchi. (2007) Landscape features, sea ice conditions and nesting eider abundance in northern Labrador. Canadian Journal of Zoology 85: 301-309.

Davoren, G.K., C. May, P. Penton, B. Reinfort, A. Buren, C. Burke, W.A. Montevecchi, D. Andrews, C. Rose-Taylor, T. Bell, J. T. Anderson, M. Koen-Alonso and S Garthe. (2007) An ecosystem research project focused on capelin in the Northwest Atlantic: Overview and results. Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Science 39: 35–48.

Garthe, S., W.A. Montevecchi and G.K. Davoren. (2007) Flight destinations and foraging behavior of Northern Gannets (Sula bassana) preying on a small forage fish in a Low Arctic ecosystem. Deep Sea Research II 54: 311-320.

Montevecchi, W.A. (2006) Large predator assessments of forage species in marine food webs. Page 21 in: T.M. Ward, M.C. Geddes and S. Mayfield (Editors) National Symposium on Ecosystem Research and Management of Fish and Fisheries. Australian Society for Fish Biology Symposium on Proceedings, Adelaide, South Australia, September 2004.

Montevecchi, W.A. (2006) Influences of artificial light on marine birds. Pages 94-113 in: C. Rich and T. Longcore (Editors) Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting. Island Press, Washington, D.C.

Montevecchi, W.A. (2006) Influence of forage species on pelagic food webs: Signs from seabirds. Page 14 in: T.M. Ward, M.C. Geddes and S. Mayfield (Editors) National Symposium on Ecosystem Research and Fish and Fisheries Management. Australian Society for Fish Biology Symposium Proceedings, Adelaide, , September 2004.

Montevecchi, W.A. (2006) Review of Gulls of North America, Europe, and Asia by K.M. Olsen and H. Larsson. Journal of Field Ornithology 77: 236-237.

Montevecchi, W.A., S. Garthe and G.K. Davoren. (2006) Biophysical influences on seabird trophic assessments. Pages 118-130 in: I.L. Boyd, S. Wanless and C.J. Camphuysen (Editors) Top Predators in Marine Ecosystems. Cambridge University Press,

Montevecchi, W.A. and J. Wells. (2006) Local names of birds in Newfoundland and Labrador. Dialectologia et Geolinguistica: invited.

Barrett, R.T., G. Chapdelaine, T. Anker-Nilsson, A. Mosbech, W.A. Montevecchi, J. Reid and R.R. Veit. (2006) Seabird numbers and prey consumption in the North Atlantic. ICES Journal of Marine Science 63: 1145-1158.

Buren, A.D., M. Koen-Alonso, W.A. Montevecchi, J.T. Anderson, B. de Young and G.K. Davoren. (2006) Modeling trophic interactions between parental Common Murres off the northeast Newfoundland coast. ICES Conference (Maasticht) Report.

Chaulk, K.G., G.J. Robertson and W.A. Montevecchi. (2006) Extinction, colonization, and distribution patterns of Common Eider populations nesting in a naturally fragmented landscape. Canadian Journal of Zoology 84: 1402-1408.

Davoren, G.K., J.T. Anderson and W.A. Montevecchi. (2006) Shoal behaviour and maturity of spawning capelin Mallotus villosus off Newfoundland: demersal spawning and diel vertical movement patterns. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 63: 268-284.

Garthe, S., W.A. Montevecchi, G. Chapdelaine, J.F. Rail and A. Hedd. (2006) Contrasting foraging tactics of seabirds breeding in different oceanographic domains. Marine Biology 151: 687-694.

Heath, J.P., G.J. Robertson and W.A. Montevecchi. (2006) Population structure of breeding Harlequin Ducks and predation risk. Canadian Journal of Zoology 84: 855-864.

Hedd, A. and W.A. Montevecchi. (2006) Diet and trophic position of Leach’s Storm-Petrel during breeding and molt, inferred from stable isotope analysis of feathers. Marine Ecology Progress Series 322: 291-301.

Veit, R.R. and W.A. Montevecchi. (2006) The influences of global climate change on marine birds. Acta Zooligica Sinica 52 (Supplement): 165-168.

Montevecchi, W.A. (2005) Review of Seabirds: A Natural History by A.J. Gaston. Condor 107: 728-729.

Montevecchi, B. (2005) S.O.S. - Save our seabirds. Downhomer 18 (September): 108-109.

Chaulk, K.G., G.J. Robertson, W.A. Montevecchi and P.C. Ryan. (2005) Aspects of Common Eiders nesting ecology in Labrador. Arctic 58: 10-15.

Chaulk, K.G., G.J. Robertson, B.T. Collins and W.A. Montevecchi. (2005) Evidence of recent population increases in Common Eiders breeding in Labrador. Journal of Wildlife Management 69: 750-754.

Davoren, G.K. and W.A. Montevecchi. (2005) Did signals from seabirds indicate changes in capelin biology? A reply. Marine Ecology Progress Series 285: 299-309.

Dolan, A.H., M. Taylor, B. Neis, J. Eyles, R. Ommer, D.C. Schneider and W.A. Montevecchi. (2005) Environmental and social restructuring and health in Canadian coastal communities: Introducing a socio-ecosystem health approach. Ecohealth 2: 1-15.

Stenhouse, I.J., H.G. Gilchrist and W.A. Montevecchi. (2005) An experimental study examining the anti-predator behaviour of Sabine's Gulls (Xema sabini) during breeding. Journal of Ethology 23: 103-108.

Stenhouse, I.J., H.G. Gilchrist and W.A. Montevecchi. (2005) Factors affecting nest-site selection of Sabine’s Gulls in the eastern Canadian Arctic. Canadian Journal of Zoology 83: 1240-1245.

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

Burke, C.M., G.K. Davoren, W.A. Montevecchi and F.K. Wiese. (2004) 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. Battelle Press, Columbus, Ohio.

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.

Chaulk, K.G., G.J. Robertson and W.A. Montevecchi. (2004) Regional and annual variability in Common Eider nesting ecology. Polar Research 23: 121-130.

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 sabini. Journal 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 (COSEWIC), Ottawa.

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

Montevecchi, W.A. (2003) Review of The Atlantic Gannet by B. Nelson. Picoides 16: 21.

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. (2003) Review of The Atlantic Gannet by B. Nelson. Ibis 145: 167-168.

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

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.

Chaffey, H.L., W.A. Montevecchi and B. Neis. (2003) Integrating scientific and local ecological knowledge (LEK) in studies of Common Eider ecology in southern Labrador. In: N.H. Hagan, C. Brignall and L. Wood (Editors) Putting Fishers’ Knowledge to Work. University of British Columbia Fisheries Center Research Report 11: 426-432.

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.

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.

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

Davoren, G.K., W.A. Montevecchi and J.T. Anderson. (2003) The influence of fish behaviour on search strategies of Common Murres Uria aalge in the Northwest Atlantic. Marine Ornithology 31:121-131.

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.

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

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.

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. Osprey 30: 22-27.

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 Review 11: S23-S46.

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