I was born in Alton Staffordshire, in 1968, and even as a toddler had a fascination with wildlife: I spent most of my childhood birdwatching and pond dipping. I studied Zoology for my degree in Manchester, before becoming a PhD student at Glasgow supervised by Bob Furness, where I studied population ecology of great skuas in Shetland. I then spent a short spell collecting and analysing seabird transect data for JNCC in Aberdeen before becoming RSPBs' seabird biologist for the following 13 years. Whilst there I conducted research to help inform RSPBs policy and management regarding seabirds, particularly demographic studies throughout the Atlantic region (including the Azores, Cape Verde, Tristan da Cunha and Greenland). I worked two consecutive winters lecturing on cruise ships in the Antarctic for Quark Expeditions, visiting most of the South Shetlands, northern Antarctic Peninsula and the north coast of South Georgia. I began work for BAS in 2008 and have developed a diverse portfolio of research on penguins, shags and auks.
My key research interests are in seabird population and foraging ecology and how these are influenced by oceanographic processes, fisheries interactions, competition and predation. My main goal is to deliver excellent research that has significant applied benefits in terms of informing conservation policy and management, including that relating to climate change, marine protected areas, invasive species and fisheries.
I currently study the foraging and population ecology of high latitude diving seabirds at British Antarctic Survey, focusing on penguins, shags and auks. The work mainly involves collecting data using hi-tech tracking equipment which are subjected to advanced statistical modelling methods to elucidate migration patterns and foraging strategies. Current projects include:
1. Niche partitioning among penguins in the South Atlantic
2. Niche partitioning among breeding Alcids in Arctic Norway
3. Individual specialisation in diving behaviour and diet in blue-eyed shags
4. Relationships between foraging behaviour, habitat use and diet in gentoo penguins.
5. Winter movements of king penguins
6. Development of marine protected areas for macaroni penguins around the UK and French OTs
7. Macaroni penguin demography
I currently have collaborations with the Universities of Glasgow, Exeter, Liverpool, Reading, Cape Town, Nelson Mandela (South Africa), Coimbra (Portugal) and the research institute CNRS (France). I also have links to government departments and NGOs, including RSPB, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Falklands Conservation, Tristan Conservation, Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and CCAMLR.
See a list of my publications on Google Scholar:
Ratcliffe, Norman, Guihen, Damien, Robst, Jeremy, Crofts, Sarah, Stanworth, Andrew, Enderlein, Peter. (2015) A protocol for the aerial survey of penguin colonies using UAVs. Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems. 10.1139/juvs-2015-0006 (In Press)
Pedro, Sara, Xavier, Jose C., Tavares, Sílvia, Trathan, Phil N., Ratcliffe, Norman, Paiva, Vitor H., Medeiros, Renata, Vieira, Rui P., Ceia, Filipe R., Pereira, Eduarda, Pardal, Miguel A.. (2015) Mercury accumulation in gentoo penguins Pygoscelis papua: spatial, temporal and sexual intraspecific variations. Polar Biology. doi:10.1007/s00300-015-1697-9
Baylis, Alastair M. M., Orben, Rachel A., Pistorius, Pierre, Brickle, Paul, Staniland, Iain, Ratcliffe, Norman. (2015) Winter foraging site fidelity of king penguins breeding at the Falkland Islands. Marine Biology, 162. 99-110. 10.1007/s00227-014-2561-0
Horswill, Catharine, Matthiopoulos, Jason, Green, Jonathan A., Meredith, Michael P., Forcada, Jaume, Peat, Helen, Preston, Mark, Trathan, Phil N., Ratcliffe, Norman. (2014) Survival in macaroni penguins and the relative importance of different drivers: individual traits, predation pressure and environmental variability. Journal of Animal Ecology, 83. 1057-1067. 10.1111/1365-2656.12229
Oppel, Steffen, Hilton, Geoff, Ratcliffe, Norman, Fenton, Calvin, Daley, James, Gray, Gerard, Vickery, Juliet, Gibbons, David. (2014) Assessing population viability while accounting for demographic and environmental uncertainty. Ecology, 95. 1809-1818. doi:10.1890/13-0733.1
Ratcliffe, Norman, Crofts, Sarah, Brown, Ruth, Baylis, Alistair M.M., Adlard, Stacey, Horswill, Catharine, Venables, Hugh, Taylor, Phil, Trathan, Philip N., Staniland, Iain J.. (2014) Love thy neighbour or opposites attract? Patterns of spatial segregation and association among crested penguin populations during winter. Journal of Biogeography, 41. 1183-1192. 10.1111/jbi.12279
Ratcliffe, Norman, Takahashi, Akinori, Oulton, Colin, Fukuda, Michio, Fry, Bridget, Crofts, Sarah, Brown, Ruth, Adlard, Stacey, Dunn, Michael J., Trathan, Philip N.. (2014) A leg-band for mounting geolocator tags on penguins. Marine Ornithology, 42. 23-26.
Ratcliffe, Norman, Takahashi, Akinori, O'Sullivan, Claire, Adlard, Stacey, Trathan, Philip N., Harris, Michael P., Wanless, Sarah. (2013) The roles of sex, mass and individual specialisation in partitioning foraging-depth niches of a pursuit-diving predator. PLoS ONE, 8. 7 pp. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079107
Baylis, A. M. M., Wolfaardt, A. C., Crofts, S., Pistorius, P. A., Ratcliffe, N.. (2013) Increasing trend in the number of Southern Rockhopper Penguins (Eudyptes c. chrysocome) breeding at the Falkland Islands. Polar Biology, 36. 1007-1018. doi:10.1007/s00300-013-1324-6
Lynch, Heather J., Ratcliffe, Norman, Passmore, Jennifer, Foster, Emma, Trathan, Philip N.. (2013) Sensitivity analysis identifies high influence sites for estimates of penguin krill consumption on the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctic Science, 25. 19-23. doi:10.1017/S0954102012000600
Trathan, Phil, Ratcliffe, Norman, Masden, E.A.. (2012) Ecological drivers of change at South Georgia: the krill surplus, or climate variability. Ecography, 35. 983-993. 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2012.07330.x
Fretwell, Peter T., LaRue, Michelle A., Morin, Paul, Kooyman, Gerald L., Wienecke, Barbara, Ratcliffe, Norman, Fox, Adrian J., Fleming, Andrew H., Porter, Claire, Trathan, Phil N.. (2012) An Emperor Penguin population estimate: The first global, synoptic survey of a species from space. Plos One, 7. 11 pp. 10.1371/journal.pone.0033751
Wanless, R. M., Ratcliffe, N., Angel, A., Bowie, B. C., Cita, K., Hilton, G. M., Kritzinger, P., Ryan, P. G., Slabber, M.. (2012) Predation of Atlantic Petrel chicks by house mice on Gough Island. Animal Conservation , 15. 472-479. 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2012.00534.x
Ratcliffe, Norman, Bell, Mike, Pelembe, Tara, Boyle, Dave, White, Raymond Benjamin Richard, Godley, Brendan, Stevenson, Jim, Sanders, Sarah. (2010) The eradication of feral cats from Ascension Island and its subsequent recolonization by seabirds. Oryx, 44. 20-29. 10.1017/S003060530999069X
Votier, Stephen C., Bearhop, Stuart, Ratcliffe, Norman, Phillips, Richard A., Furness, Robert W.. (2004) Predation by great skuas at a large Shetland seabird colony. Journal of Applied Ecology, 41. 1117-1128. 10.1111/j.0021-8901.2004.00974.x