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Portuguese Wanderer

I thought I was the first Portuguese to study Wandering albatrosses but I was five hundred years too late. When fifteenth-century Portuguese sailors first ventured down the coast of Africa, they encountered large black and white birds with stout bodies, which they called alcatraz, the Portuguese word for large seabirds; English sailors later corrupted alcatraz to albatross. I was studying aspects of their diet and feeding behaviour in ways that could not be done five hundred years ago, information which may help save them from extinction. That made me feel better…

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This is an essay that won the New Scientist/Wellcome trust essay competition which can show some of the Portuguese passion we have for polar research and conservation of special polar organisms. More writing to come on this site…

Written by Jose Xavier

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