David Fifield

Image Dave Fifield
Marine Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation Specialist

Current research and/or projects

Contributing to Environment Canada’s mandate to ensure wildlife is conserved and protected

  • Developing predictive spatial models of marine bird abundance and distribution to inform marine spatial planning, risk assessment, and environmental assessment
  • Oil spill marine bird damage assessment  
  • Development of electronic marine bird burrow monitoring systems to inform seasonal/annual survival, nesting phenology, breeding behaviour
  • Understanding declines in Leach's Storm-petrel
  • Detecting long-term at-sea population trends in marine birds

Education and awards

M.Sc., Cognitive and Behavioural Ecology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2011

B.Sc. (Hons), Computer Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1990

Key publications

ED Wakefield, DL Miller, SL Bond, F le Bouard, PC Carvalho, PC, BJ Dilley, DA Fifield, C Gjerdrum, J González-Solís, H Hogan, V Laptikhovsky, B Merkel, JAO Miller, PI Miller, SJ Pinder, T Pipa, PM Ryan, LA Thompson, PM Thompson, J Matthiopoulos, (2021) The summer distribution, habitat associations and abundance of seabirds in the sub-polar frontal zone of the Northwest Atlantic, Prog. in Oceanog., 198

Miller DL, Fifield D, Wakefield E, Sigourney DB. 2021. Extending density surface models to include multiple and double-observer survey data. PeerJ 9:e12113 

Lewis KP, Vander Wal E, Fifield DA (2018) Wildlife biology, big data, and reproducible research. Wildl. Soc. Bul. doi:10.1002/wsb.847.

Fayet AL, Freeman R, Anker-Nilssen T, Diamond A, Erikstad KE, Fifield DA, Fitzsimmons MG, Hansen ES, Harris MP, Jessopp M, Kouwenberg A-L, Kress S, Mowat S, Perrins CM, Petersen A, Petersen IK, Reiertsen TK, Robertson GJ, Shannon P, Sigurðsson IA, Shoji A, Wanless S, and Guilford T (2017) Ocean-wide drivers of migration strategies and their influence on population breeding performance in a declining seabird. Cur. Biol. 27:1–8 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.11.009

Fifield DA, Hedd A, Avery-Gomm S, Robertson GJ, Gjerdrum C and McFarlane Tranquilla L (2017) Employing predictive spatial models to inform conservation planning for seabirds in the Labrador Sea. Front. Mar. Sci. 4:149. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00149

D. A. Fifield, S. Avery-Gomm, L. A. McFarlane Tranquilla, P.C. Ryan, C. Gjerdrum, A. Hedd,  M.G. Fitzsimmons, G. J. Robertson. 2017. Effectiveness of Observers in Visually Detecting Dead Seabirds on the Open Ocean (2010-21S). Environmental Studies Research Funds Report No. xxx. St. John’s. 35 p.

Fifield, D.A.,  A. Hedd, G. J. Robertson, S. Avery‐Gomm, C. Gjerdrum, L. A. McFarlane Tranquilla, S. J. Duffy. 2016. Baseline Surveys for Seabirds in the Labrador Sea (201‐08S). Environmental Studies Research Funds Report No. 206. St. John’s. 69 pp. http://www.esrfunds.org/sites/www.esrfunds.org/files/pdf/publications/ESRF206_DAFifieldAHeddetal.pdf

McFarlane-Tranquilla, L., Montevecchi, W.A., Hedd, A., Regular, P., Robertson, G.J., Fifield, D.A., Devillers, R. 2015. Ecological segregation among Thick-billed Murres (Uria lomvia) and Common Murres (Uria aalge) in the Northwest Atlantic persists through the nonbreeding season. Can J Zoology, 93:447-460.

Fifield, D. A., Montevecchi, W. A., Garthe, S., Robertson, G. J., Kubetzki, U., and Rail, J.-F. 2014. Migratory tactics and wintering areas of Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) breeding in North America. Ornith Monog 79:1-63.

Lieske, D. J., Fifield, D. A., Gjerdrum, C. 2014. Maps, models, and marine vulnerability: Assessing the community distribution of seabirds at-sea. Biol Cons. 172:15-28.

McFarlane Tranquilla, L. A., Montevecchi, W. A., Hedd, A., Fifield, D. A., Burke, C. M., Smith, P. A., Regular, P. M., Robertson, G. J., Gaston, A. J., and Phillips, R. A. 2013. Multiple-colony winter habitat use of murres (Uria spp.) in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean: Implications for marine risk assessment. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 472:287-303.

Montevecchi, W. A., Fifield, D. A., Burke, C., Garthe, S., Hedd, A., Rail, J.-F., and Robertson, G. J. 2012. Tracking long-distance migration to assess marine pollution impact. Biol Lett 8:218-221.

Montevecchi, W. A., Hedd, A., MacFarlane Tranquilla, L., Fifield, D. A., Burke, C., Regular, P. M., Davoren, G. K., Garthe, S., Robertson, G. J., and Phillips, R. A. 2012. Tracking seabirds to identify ecologically important and high risk marine areas in the western North Atlantic. Biol Cons 156:62-71.

Roberston, G. J., Fifield, D. A., Montevecchi, W. A., Gaston, A. J., Burke, C. M., Elliot, K. H., Gjerdrum, C., Gilchrist, H. G., Hedd, A., Mallory, M. L., MacFarlane Tranquilla, L., Regular, P. M., Ryan, P. C., Smith, P. A., Wilhelm, S. I. 2012. Miniaturized data loggers and computer programming improve seabird risk and damage assessments for marine oil spills in Atlantic Canada. J Ocean Technology 7:41-58. ISSN 1718-3200

Hedd, A., Montevecchi, W. A., McFarlane-Tranquila, L., Burke, C., Fifield, D. A., Robertson, G. J., and Phillips, R. A. 2011. Reducing uncertainty on the Grand Banks: Tracking and vessel surveys indicate mortality risks for Common Murres. Anim Cons 14: 630-641.

Hedd, A., Fifield, D. A., Burke, C. M., Montevecchi, W. A., Tranquilla, L. M., Regular, P. M., Buren, A. D., and Robertson, G. J. 2010. Seasonal shift in the foraging niche of Atlantic puffins Fratercula arctica revealed by stable isotope (δ15N and δ13C) analyses. Aqua Biol 9: 13-22.

Fifield, D. A., Lewis, K. P., Gjerdrum, C., Robertson, G. J., and Wells, R. 2009. Offshore seabird monitoring program. Environment Studies Research Funds Report no. 183. St. John's. http://www.esrfunds.org/pdf/183.pdf