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St Andrews academic makes a splash

The research of a St Andrews’ academic was highlighted on tea-time television this week.

Senior Research Scientist Callan Duck from the Sea Mammal Research Unit appeared on “The One Show” on the BBC on December 15th.

Callan, who monitors the size and status of the UK seal populations, was joined by The One Show’s Wildlife and Nature Presenter Mike Dilger on a research trip to Orkney.

Callan explained, “We survey grey seals all around Scotland during their breeding season, between mid September and the end of November/early December, from a light aircraft.

“We survey about sixty colonies every year using a large format camera mounted in a custom-built motion-compensating cradle. The cradle ‘pans’ the camera as it takes photographs so we are able to use an unusually slow shutter speed, ideal for the low light conditions in Orkney at the end of November!”

Grey seals gather together at traditional colonies to breed.  This makes surveying them relatively easy, even though their breeding colonies are spread all around the Scottish coast.  The results of these and surveys of harbour seals form part of the advice on seal populations presented annually by NERC through its Special Committee on Seals (SCOS) to the Scottish and UK governments.

To watch the episode of “The One Show” visit:- http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00g333j

Advice on seal populations can be found on SMRU’s website at:
http://www.smru.st-andrews.ac.uk/pageset.aspx?psr=411

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

Callan Duck is available for interview on Tel: 01334 462636 / 7202 or E-mail: cdd1@st-andrews.ac.uk

Callan has recently published a booklet on seals for Scottish Natural Heritage:
Seals, Callan Duck, Scottish Natural Heritage ISBN 978 1 85397 528 8.

NOTE TO PICTURE EDITORS:

IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THE PRESS OFFICE – CONTACTS BELOW.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona Armstrong, Press Officer on 01334 462530 / 462529, Mobile: 07730 415 015 or Email: fa12@st-andrews.ac.uk
Ref:  Callan Duck 171208
View the latest University press releases at www.st-andrews.ac.uk

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