Scientific papers

2017 and in press

Sydeman WJ, Thompson SA, Anker-Nilssen T, Arimitsu M, Bennison A, Bertrand S, Boersch-Supan P, Boyd C, Bransome N, Crawford RJM, Daunt F, Furness R, Gianuca D, Gladics A, Koehn L, Lang J, Logerwell E, Morris TL, Phillips EM, Provencher J, Punt AE, Saraux C, Shannon L, Sherley RBSimeone A, Wanless RM, Wanless S, Zador S. 2017. Best Practices for Assessing Forage Fish Fisheries - Seabird Resource Competition. Fisheries Research. In Press.
Sherley RB, Botha P, Underhill LG, Ryan PG, van Zyl D, Cockcroft AC, Crawford RJM, Dyer BM and Cook TR. 2017. Defining ecologically relevant scales for spatial protection with long-term data on an endangered seabird and local prey availability. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12923.
Morten JM, Parsons NJ, Schwitzer C, Holderied MW and Sherley RB. 2017. Body condition as a quantitative tool to guide hand-rearing decisions in an endangered seabird. Animal Conservation. DOI: 10.1111/acv.12338.

Sherley RB, Ludynia K, Dyer BM, Lamont T, Makhado AB, Roux J-P, Scales KL, Underhill LG and Votier SC. 2017. Metapopulation tracking juvenile penguins reveals an ecosystem-wide ecological trap. Current Biology. 27: 563568.

Gaglio D, Cook TR, Connan M, Ryan PG and Sherley RB2017. Dietary studies in birds: testing a non-invasive method using digital photography in seabirds. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 8: 214–222.


Sherley RB. 2016. Unusual foraging behaviour of two introduced mammals following degradation of their island habitat. Biodiversity Observations 7.29: 110.

Weller F, Sherley RBShannon LJ, Jarre A, Stewart T, Scott L, Altwegg R, Cecchini L-A, Crawford RJM, Geldenhuys D, Ludynia K and Waller LJ. 2016. Penguins’ perilous conservation status calls for complementary approach based on sound ecological principles: reply to Butterworth et al. (2015). Ecological Modelling 337: 13.

Weller F, Sherley RB, Waller LJ, Ludynia K, Geldenhuys D, Shannon LJ, and Jarre A. 2016. System dynamics modelling of the Endangered African penguin populations on Dyer and Robben islands, South Africa. Ecological Modelling 327: 4456.


Sherley RB, Winker H, Altwegg R, van der Lingen CD, Votier SC and Crawford RJM. 2015. Bottom-up effects of a no-take zone on endangered penguin demographics. Biology Letters 11: 20150237.

Gaglio D, Cook T and Sherley RB. 2015. Egg morphology of Swift Terns in South Africa. Ostrich 86: 287289.

Gaglio D, Sherley RB and Cook T. 2015. Insects in the diet of the Greater Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii bergii in Southern Africa. Marine Ornithology 43: 131132.


Sherley RB, Waller LJ, Strauss V, Geldenhuys D, Underhill LG and Parsons NJ. 2014. Hand-rearing, release and survival of African penguin chicks abandoned before independence by moulting parents. PLoS ONE 9(10): e110794. Sherley RB, Abadi F, Ludynia K, Barham BJ, Clark AE and Altwegg R. 2014. Age-specific survival and movement among major African Penguin Spheniscus demersus colonies. Ibis 156: 716–728.
Ludynia K, Waller LJ, Sherley RB, Abadi F, Galada Y, Geldenhuys D, Crawford RJM, Shannon L and Jarre A. 2014. Processes influencing the population dynamics and conservation of African penguins at Dyer Island, South Africa. African Journal of Marine Science 36: 253–267. Gaglio D and Sherley RB. 2014. Nasty neighborhood: kleptoparasitism and egg predation of swift terns by Hartlaub's gullsOrnithological Observations 5: 131–134. Weller F, Cecchini L-A, Shannon L, Sherley RB, Crawford RJM, Altwegg R, Scott L, Stewart T and Jarre A. 2014. A system dynamics approach to modelling multiple drivers of the African penguin population on Robben Island, South Africa. Ecological Modelling 277: 38–56.
Sherley RB, Barham PJ, Barham BJ, Crawford RJM, Dyer BM, Leshoro TM, Makhado AB, Upfold L and Underhill LG. 2014. Growth and decline of a penguin colony and the influence on nesting density and reproductive success. Population Ecology 56: 119128.
   2009 - 2013
Bonato M, Evans MR, Hasselquist D, Sherley RB, Cloete SWP and Cherry IC. 2013. Ostrich chick humoral immune responses and growth rate are predicted by parental immune responses and paternal colouration. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67: 18911901.

Sherley RB, Ludynia K, Lamont T, Roux JP, Crawford RJM and Underhill LG. 2013. The initial journey of an endangered penguin: implications for seabird conservation. Endangered Species Research 21: 89–95.
Rueda E and Sherley RB. 2013. First observations of Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus on Robben Island. Ornithological Observations 4: 24–26.
 Sherley RB, Underhill LG, Barham BJ, Barham PJ, Coetzee JC, Crawford RJM, Dyer BM, Leshoro TM and Upfold L. 2013. Influence of local and regional prey availability on breeding performance of African penguins Spheniscus demersus. Marine Ecology Progress Series 473: 291–301.
Sherley RB and Robinson KJ. 2012. First observation: Pied Avocet at Robben Island. Ornithological Observations 3: 100101.

Sherley RB, Barham BJ, Barham PJ, Leshoro TM and Underhill LG. 2012. Artificial nests enhance the breeding productivity of African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus) on Robben Island, South Africa. Emu 112: 97106.
Sherley RB, Ludynia K, Underhill LG, Jones R and 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: 441455.

Sherley RB, Dyer BM, Underhill LG and Leshoro TM. 2011. Birds occurring or breeding at Robben Island, South Africa, since 2000. Ornithological Observations 2: 69100.

de Villiers MS, Mecenero S, Sherley RB, Heinze E, Leshoro TM, Merbold L, Nordt A, Parsons NJ, and Peter H-U. 2010. Introduced European rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and domestic cats (Felis catus) on Robben Island: Population trends and management recommendations. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 40: 139–148.

Sherley RB, Burghardt T, Barham PJ, Campbell N and Cuthill IC. 2010. Spotting the difference: towards fully-automated population monitoring of African penguins Spheniscus demersus. Endangered Species Research 11: 101–111.

Underhill LG, Sherley RB, Dyer BM and Crawford RJM. 2009. Interactions between snakes and seabirds on Robben, Schaapen and Meeuw Islands, Western Cape province, South Africa. Ostrich 80: 115–118.

Selected scientific reports for government
Sherley RB. 2016. A Bayesian approach to understand the effect sizes, uncertainty and demographic impact associated with purse-seine fishing closures around African penguin colonies. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Report: MARAM/IWS/DEC16/Peng Clos/P2. pp. 1–28. (Temporary confidentiality pending peer-review publication) Please contact me for queries.
Sherley RB. 2016. Additional analysis suggested in response to differences in variance estimates between Sherley (2016) and Ross-Gillespie & Butterworth (2016). Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Report: MARAM/IWS/DEC16/Peng Clos/P4. pp. 1–3. Weller F, Sherley RB, Altwegg R, Jarre A and Shannon LJ. 2016. Additional perspectives for the Stock Assessment Review Panel on penguin population modelling for decision making. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Report: MARAM/IWS/DEC16/Peng Press/P2. pp. 1–6. Sherley RB. 2015. Proposal for additional analysis on the island closures feasibility data. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Report: FISHERIES/2015/AUG/SWG-PEL/PENG/R1. pp. 1–8. Sherley RB. 2015. Comments on FISHERIES/2015/AUG/SWG-PEL/PENG/M1, ‘Points about technical proposals for determining the power and bias of estimators applied to “penguin experimental data”, Part I’. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Report: FISHERIES/2015/AUG/SWG-PEL/PENG/M1/RespR1. pp. 1–5. Sherley RB. 2015. Comments and questions regarding FISHERIES/2015/AUG/SWG-PEL/PENG/D1. ‘Suggestions re further penguin power analysis and estimator simulation test in response to panel recommendations’. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Report: FISHERIES/2015/AUG/SWG-PEL/PENG/D1/RespR1. pp. 1–11. Hagen C, Jarre A, Shannon L, Sherley RB, Steinfurth A, Crawford RJM, van der Merwe L, Wanless RM, Oosthuizen H, Pichegru L, Robinson K, Weller F, McInnes A, Winker H, Altwegg R, Ludynia K, Waller L and Makhado AB. 2014. Evaluating the state of knowledge on fishing exclusions around major African Penguin colonies. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Report: MARAM/IWS/DEC14/PENG/A1. pp. 1–12. Sherley RB. 2014. Bayesian estimates of the power to detect an effect of fishing closures around Robben Island on the breeding productivity of African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus). Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Report: FISHERIES/2014/APR/SWG–PEL/ICTT/19. pp. 1–14. (Later published in Biology Letters). 

Popular press and online articles
 Gaglio D and Sherley RB. 2017. Just snap it! Using digital cameras to discover what birds eat. Methods in Ecology and Evolution Blog ( Posted 5 January 2017.
 Sherley RB. 2014. Adult survival declines as African Penguin population plummets. British Ornithologists' Union Blog. Posted 25 August 2014.  Schwitzer C, Simpson N, Roestorf M and Sherley RB. 2013. The African Penguin Chick Bolstering Project: A One Plan approach to integrated species conservation. WAZA Magazine 14: 23–26.
   Sherley RB. 2012. Catching up on the secret lives of juvenile penguins. Environment 10: 64–66.
   Sherley RB. 2011. Research highlights: Revealing the Secret Lives of African Penguins. Environment 7: 14–16.
  "File" links will provide the full text as a PDF, "http" link will take you to the article page on the publisher's website. Reprints are provided for personal, non-commercial use only. Consult the relevant journal for copyright information. Please feel free to contact me for reprints of any of my papers not available for download here.

PhD thesis (31.2 MB)

Sherley RB. 2010. Factors influencing the demography of Endangered seabirds at Robben Island, South Africa: Implications and approaches for management and conservation. PhD Thesis, University of Bristol, U.K.