Dr Jennifer Lavers completed her PhD at Memorial University of Newfoundland, on a tiny island in south-east Canada. She therefore felt prepared for life in Tasmania, a small island located off the south-east coast of Australia. The research she leads at Adrift Lab focuses on using wild species, especially birds, as sentinels (indicators) of physical and chemical pollution in marine and freshwater environments. Islands also feature at Adrift Lab, as remote areas can act as natural ‘controls’. Jennifer invests significant time in science communication, including feature roles in documentary films such as A Plastic Ocean, BLUE, and Drowning in Plastic.
She currently works as a Lecturer in Marine Science at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Tasmania where she teaches a number of courses, including marine conservation and ecological statistics. She sits on a number of advisory boards, including Plastic Oceans Australasia and is a member of the Specialist Committee on Seabirds and Plastic Pollution (SCSPP) with the World Seabird Union. Her publications and recent media/awards are listed under the “News” and “Research” tabs above.
Gadfly petrels (Pterodroma spp.) are one of the most threatened and poorly studied seabird groups, and as marine predators, are exposed to biomagnified and bioaccumulated chemical pollutants from their prey. We quantified trace element concentrations in breast feathers of seven petrel species that breed in the southern hemisphere to quantify current concentrations.
Divergent foraging strategies may emerge within a population due to a combination of physiological and environmental factors; yet to persist, neither strategy should offer a consistent selective advantage over the alternative in the long term.
We compared the characteristics of debris incorporated within brown booby nests and in beach transects at 18 sites, to determine if nests are indicators of the amount of debris in local marine environments
Seabirds face diverse threats on their breeding islands and while at sea. Human activities have been linked to the decline of seabird populations, yet over-wintering areas typically receive little or no protection.
Here we investigate trends in the type, amount, and colour of ingested plastic over time, and determine whether ingested plastic contributes to reduced health of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters on Lord Howe Island, Australia
In the marine environment, cetaceans and seabirds are widely regarded as reliable sentinels due to their position near the top of the marine food web, conspicuous nature, and reliance on marine resources; for this reason, this paper is focused on seabirds and cetaceans as sentinels of ocean change.
Invasive rodents detrimentally affect native bird species on many islands worldwide. It is unclear whether the temporary reduction of a rodent population during an unsuccessful eradication operation has beneficial effects on native birds.
Surface net tows along Australia’s east coast during 2012-2014 indicated inter-annual variation in mean plastic abundance, ranging from to 248.04–3711.64 pieces km−2.
Strong genetic divergence was detected between Pacific colonies of Flesh-footed Shearwaters, relative to those further West. Molecular analysis of bycatch from the Sea of Japan suggests segregation of the non-breeding distribution based on telemetry may be invalid.
Geophysical features of sample sites were recorded in order to investigate their relationship with debris density. Results suggest the density of macro debris (items > 5 mm) is highest on uninhabited, sandy beaches facing a leeward direction
Susie Philpot’s first paper has been accepted by Environmental Science and Pollution Research. The paper details the bioaccumulation of deleterious trace elements in seven petrel species. Susie’s research uses these species as bio-indicators of the health of the ecosystems in which they dwell.
Last year, Dr Jennifer Lavers was contacted by American artist Tina Hinojosa, who wanted to create an art-science piece using marine debris. Dr Lavers sent some plastic that had been ingested by flesh-footed shearwaters on Lord Howe island.
The Plastic Seas curriculum includes engaging videos and #STEM design challenges created by teachers for teachers. All materials are available for free at www.earthecho.org/Expeditions beginning 15 Jan 2019.
Dr Jennifer Lavers wrote a piece for Birdland, an article from The Island Review, an online magazine by and for bird lovers.
The gears of ecological and ornithological research continue to turn as researchers including Adrift Lab’s Dr. Jennifer Lavers have published a paper on the foraging strategies of the Murhpy’s Petrel.
Join Dr Lavers at the John Monash Science School for a special first anniversary screening of A Plastic Ocean, along with a live Q&A session. 30 OCTOBER 2018, 6:30PM
In October, Dr Jennifer Lavers joined the 2018 EarthEcho Expedition to showcase Adrift Lab’s plastic pollution research and promote a new citizen science program aimed at schools.
Adrift Lab researchers are excited to announce their successful bid for ‘Waste Reduction Funding’!
In September 2018, Dr Lavers participated in the “Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants” ocean plastics event which was live-broadcast to six schools (more than 150 students) across eastern North America.