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Katrin Ludynia

Postdoc at the Animal Demography Unit
Supervisor Prof. Les Underhil and at the MaRe Institute, Supervisor Prof. Astrid Jarre

I obtained my PhD in Marine Biology in 2007 at the West Coast Research and Technology Center (FTZ) at the University of Kiel, Germany. For my thesis “Identification and characterisation of foraging areas of seabirds in upwelling systems: biological and hydrographic implications for foraging at sea” I studied the foraging behaviour of several seabird species in the Humboldt and Benguela Currents. In Chile, studies were carried out in cooperation with Prof. Guillermo Luna Jorquera at the Universidad Católica del Norte in Coquimbo. In Namibia, I worked with Dr Jessica Kemper and Dr Jean-Paul Roux at the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Lüderitz.

Since obtaining my PhD, I have continued my work on the foraging behaviour of seabirds in Namibia as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Animal Demography Unit at UCT (supervisor: Prof. Les Underhill) funded through a Claude Leon Foundation fellowship. My current work focuses on the foraging behavior and diet of African penguins, Cape gannets and bank cormorants. The work forms part of the monitoring programme for Namibia’s first Marine Protected Area, the Namibian Islands’ Marine Protected Area (NIMPA). NIMPA was declared in 2009 and its outline is partly based on data obtained during my PhD on the foraging areas of African penguins. My work in Namibia is carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources in Lüderitz (main collaborators: Dr. Jean-Paul Roux, Ecosystem Analysis, and Paulus Ashili, Seabird Section) as well as with Dr. Jessica Kemper from the African Penguin Conservation Project.

Besides the studies of foraging behaviours of breeding birds which are mostly carried out using GPS data loggers, we are currently also investigating the winter movements of Cape gannets breeding at Mercury and Ichaboe Islands using global location sensors (GLS, geolocation). We deployed birds with GLS at the end of the breeding season 2011/2012 and are currently retrieving the devices. Another set of devices will be deployed during this breeding season. Using time of sunrise and sunset as well as day length will give us an idea about where the birds spend their time during the non-breeding season. This information will help to improve the conservation measures for Cape gannets as currently little is known about the threats faced by the birds during the non-breeding season. This project is carried out in collaboration with Lorien Pichegru and Peter Ryan from the Percy FitzPatrick Institute at UCT, Pierre Pistoriua and Maelle Connan from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth and supported by David Grémillet from CNRS; France.

In addition to my work in Namibia, I am currently working on a model that tries to explain and predict the population decline of African penguins breeding at Dyer Island. The project “Dyer Island Penguin Pressure Model” is funded by the SA Research Chair in Marine Ecology and Fisheries awarded to Prof. Astrid Jarre, based at the Marine Research Institute at UCT. My work forms part of a working group, consisting of scientists from UCT, government organisations (DEA) as well as conservation bodies (CapeNature, SANBI) and NGOs. Penguin numbers have dramatically declined at Dyer Island over the last decades, presumably due to a combination of natural and human-induced factors. We are currently evaluating the effects of fishing activities, disturbance, oiling, predation by seals and gulls, as well as climatic effects on breeding birds and reduced food availability due to shifts in prey abundance. The model aims for a better understanding of interacting processes and will be used as a tool in advising fisheries working groups applying the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries. The model allows us to predict trends in African penguin population numbers under different climate change scenarios as well as other environmental changes.

Between 2009 and 2011, I have also been involved in an Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP) funded project on the foraging ecology of rockhopper penguins on New Island, Falkland Islands. During the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 breeding seasons, we deployed GPS data loggers on breeding rockhopper penguins during incubation, guard and crèche stages. This work was carried out in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology in Radolfzell, Germany (working group: Dr. Petra Quillfeldt) and the New Island Conservation Trust.

Contact Details:


John Day Zoology Building Room 3.22

Phone: (021) 650 5073

Recent Publications

Ludynia K, Dehnhard N, Poisbleau M, Demongin L, Masello JF, Quillfeldt P (in press) Evaluating the impact of handling and logger attachment on foraging parameters and physiology in southern rockhopper penguins. PLoS ONE

Ludynia K, Dehnhard N, Poisbleau M, Demongin L, Masello JF, Voigt CC, Quillfeldt (in press) Sexual segregation in rockhopper penguins during incubation. Animal Behaviour

Dehnhard N, Ludynia K, Almeida A (accepted) Record of a Royal penguin (Eudyptes schlegeli) in the Falkland Islands. Marine Ornithology

Ludynia K, Kemper J, Roux J-P (2012) The Namibian Islands’ Marine Protected Area: using seabird tracking data to define boundaries and assess their adequacy. Biological Conservation DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.11.014

Garthe S, Ludynia K, Hüppop O, Kubetzki U, Meraz JF, Furness RW (2012) Energy budgets reveal equal benefits of varied migration strategies in northern gannets. Marine Biology 159: 1907-1915 DOI 10.1007/s00227-012-1978-6

Quillfeldt P, McGill RAR, Furness RW, Möstl E, Ludynia K, Masello JF (2012) Impact of miniature geolocation loggers on a small petrel, the thin-billed prion Pachyptila belcheri. Marine Biology 159: 1809-1816 DOI 10.1007/s00227-012-1971-0

Sherley R, Ludynia K, Underhill LG, Jones R, Kemper J (2012) Storms and heat limit the nest success of Bank Cormorants: implications of future climate change for a surface-nesting seabird in southern Africa. Journal of Ornithology 153: 441-455 DOI 10.1007/s10336-011-0760-8

Merino S, Hennicke J, Martínez J, Ludynia K, Torres R, Work TM, Stroud S, Masello JF, Quillfeldt P (2012) Infection by Haemoproteus parasites in four species of frigatebirds and description of a new species of Haemoproteus (Haemosporida: Haemoproteidae). Journal of Parasitology 98: 388-397 DOI 10.1645/GE-2415.1

Quillfeldt P, van Noordwijk H, Ludynia K, Masello JF (2011) Flexible diving behaviour of a sexually dimorphic seabird: large males do not always dive deep. Marine Ecology Progress Series 428: 271-287 DOI: 10.3354/meps09058

Kohler SA, Connan M, Hill JM, Mablouké C, Ludynia K, Kemper J, Huisamen J, Underhill LG, Cherel Y, McQuaid CD, Jaquemet S (2011) Geographic variation in the trophic ecology of an avian rocky shore predator, the African Black Oystercatcher along the southern African coastline. Marine Ecology Progress Series 435: 235-249 DOIi: 10.3354/meps09215

Ludynia K, Roux J-P, Jones R, Kemper J, Underhill LG (2010) Surviving off junk: Low-energy prey dominates the diet of African penguins Spheniscus demersus at Mercury Island, Namibia, between 1996 and 2009. African Journal of Marine Science 32: 563-572 DOI 10.2989/1814232X.2010.538151

Ludynia K, Garthe S, Luna-Jorquera G (2010) Distribution and foraging behaviour of the Peruvian booby (Sula variegata) off northern Chile. Journal of Ornithology 151: 103-111 DOI 10.1007/s10336-009-0431-1

Ludynia K, Jones R, Kemper J, Garthe S, Underhill LG (2010) Foraging behaviour of bank cormorants in Namibia: implications for conservation. Endangered Species Research 12: 31-40 DOI 10.3354/esr00288

Quillfeldt P, Martínez J, Hennicke J, Ludynia K, Gladbach A, Masello JF, Riou S, Merino S (2010) Haemosporidian blood parasites in seabirds – a comparative genetic study of species from Antarctic to tropical habitats. Naturwissenschaften 97: 809-817

Kemper J, Strauss V, Ludynia K, Roux J-P, Gous T (2009) Penguins crossing borders: trans-border rehabilitation of oiled penguins from Namibia. Proceedings of the Effect of Oil on Wildlife Conference 2009 www.eowconference09.org