AvaSpec for bird research on the Falkland Islands
Bird research on the Falkland Islands
The Thin-billed Prion, or Pachyptila Belcheri, is a species of seabirds that is mostly found in the southern oceans. To determine their maturity level, their feather color and ornamental appearance is used. Since these birds can see and produce signals in the UV-range (such as plumage color and bill displays), spectroscopy is used to objectively assess skin and feather colors.
The spectrometer used on New Island, part of the Falkland Islands (or Islas Malvinas) is an AvaSpec-2048 in a portable setup with laptop, 12V battery, a light source and a connected reflection probe. The scientists are interested in color measurements, the origins of signaling with ornaments, hormonal control and trade-offs between signal production and e.g. reproduction, or the maintenance of a strong immune system.