Dr James Clive Angus Craik

Honorary Research Fellow

Since 1987 I have recorded the numbers and breeding success of seabirds, wildfowl and waders breeding on small islands in sealochs.

Since 1995 I have been working hard to protect breeding terns from mink. I have strong interests in other scientific subjects. 71 refereed papers, 37 other articles.

Contact details:
  • clive.craik@sams.ac.uk
  • +44 (0)1631 559 308


I make annual visits to over a hundred small islands in sealochs, between Mallaig in the north and West Loch Tarbert in the south, to count ground-nesting birds, record their breeding success and investigate causes of breeding failure. My research has revealed the devastating effects of mammalian predators, particularly American mink but also European otter. The effects of both these mammals on breeding seabirds had not been known and came as a considerable surprise to ornithologists. I collaborated for many years with the Farming and Forestry Advisory Group (FFWAG) in recruiting and training mink trappers. For many years I gave lectures on this and other subjects to branches of conservation bodies all over Scotland (such as the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the RSPB). Some of these activities have been curtailed in recent years due to deafness.

I am hugely grateful to SAMS for providing me with a room and facilities since 1989, and for the contact this allows with other scientists. I have used this freedom to investigate other interesting subjects (some of them non-marine) whenever they present themselves. These have included:

(1) The discovery of marching columns of hundreds of thousands of larvae of Armyworms Sciara militaris near Barcaldine in 2004 (the first record of this insect species in the British Isles), and later the discovery of a much larger population of the same species near Kilmelford. These investigations led to many publications.

(2) My discovery in 2010 of a large population of the amazing gastropod mollusc Akera bullata in the settling pond from the outflow of the SAMS aquarium. This led to many interesting new findings, some of which have been published while others are now being written up.

(3) My finding in 2014 of intertidal ponds in Loch Feochan where surface films of the iron bacterium Leptothrix discophora form seasonally at certain states of the tide. These multi-coloured iridescent films are astoundingly beautiful and I hope that my photographs may bridge the gap between science and aesthetics. My investigations of the films during 2014-2017 have revealed basic biological facts, such as the precise conditions under which they appear, the remarkable speed at which they grow, and the causes of their disappearance. These findings are being written up now (Sept 2017).

(4) Intermittently since 1980 I have run a Robinson mercury-vapour moth trap in my garden at Barcaldine. Besides obtaining records of many moth species, I have since 2014 been investigating methods for comparing the effectiveness of different light sources in attracting insects to this trap. This has become necessary because of EU legislation banning the use of mercury. Replacement bulbs are now being marketed and I am testing these and comparing them with the traditional mercury-vapour bulb which has been widely used since 1950. This knowledge is important if quantitative comparisons are to be made between catches before and after the change of bulb types. The work has led to two publications, with another now being written up.

Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physiology

Cameron D W and Craik J CA (1968). Colouring matters of the Aphididae. Part XXXVI. The configuration of the glucoside linkage in protoaphins. Journal of the Chemical Society (Section C): 3068-3072.

Banks H J, Cameron D W and Craik J C A (1969). Colouring matters of the Aphididae. Part XXXVII. Some further constituents of Tuberolachnus salignus and their relevance to the stereochemistry of the protoaphins. Journal of the Chemical Society (Section C): 627-631.

Craik J C A (1978). Plasma levels of vitellogenin in the elasmobranch Scyliorhinus canicula L (lesser spotted dogfish). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 60B 9-18.

Craik J C A (1978). Kinetic studies of vitellogenin metabolism in the elasmobranch Scyliorhinus canicula L. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 61A 355-361.

Craik J C A (1978). The effects of oestrogen treatment on certain plasma constituents associated with vitellogenesis in the elasmobranch Scyliorhinus canicula L. General and Comparative Endocrinology 35 455-464.

Craik J C A (1978). Effects of hypophysectomy on vitellogenesis in the elasmobranch Scyliorhinus canicula L. General and Comparative Endocrinology 36 63-67.

Craik J C A (1978). The lipids of six species of shark. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 58 913-921.

Craik J C A (1978). An annual cycle of vitellogenesis in the elasmobranch Scyliorhinus canicula. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 58 719-726.

Craik J C A (1979). Simultaneous measurement of rates of vitellogenesis and plasma levels of oestradiol in an elasmobranch. General and Comparative Endocrinology 38 264-266.

Norfolk J R W and Craik J C A (1980). Investigation of the control of urine production in the shore crab Carcinus maenas. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 67A 141-148.

Craik J C A (1982). Levels of phosphoprotein in the eggs and ovaries of some fish species. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 72B 507-510.

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1984). The magnitudes of three phosphorus-containing fractions in the blood plasma and mature eggs of fishes. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 78B 539-543.

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1984). Biochemical changes associated with over-ripening of the eggs of rainbow trout Salmo gairdneri. Aquaculture 37 347-357.

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1984). Egg quality in rainbow trout: the relation between egg viability, selected aspects of egg composition, and time of stripping. Aquaculture 40 115-134.

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1984). Biochemical changes occurring during final maturation of eggs of some marine and freshwater teleosts. Journal of Fish Biology 24 599-610.

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1984). A biochemical method for distinguishing between the sexes of fishes by the presence of yolk protein in the blood. Journal of Fish Biology 25 293-303.

Craik J C A (1985). Egg quality and egg pigment content in salmonid fishes. Aquaculture 47 61-88.

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1986). Phosphorus metabolism and water uptake during final maturation of ovaries of teleosts with pelagic and demersal eggs. Marine Biology 90 285-289.

Craik J C A (1986). Levels of calcium and iron in the ovaries and eggs of cod Gadus morhua and plaice Pleuronectes platessa. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 83A 515-517.

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1986).The carotenoids of eggs of wild and farmed Atlantic salmon and their changes during development to the start of feeding. Journal of Fish Biology 29 549-565.

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1987). The causes of buoyancy in eggs of marine teleosts. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. 67 169-182.

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1987). A biochemical method for distinguishing between wild and farmed salmonid fishes by their carotenoid pigmentation. Journal of the Forensic Science Society 27 47-55.

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1988). A preliminary account of metal levels in eggs of farmed and wild Atlantic salmon and their relation to egg viability. Aquaculture 73 309-321.

 

Evolution and Origin of Life

Craik J C A (1989) The Gaia Hypothesis: Fact or fancy? Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 69 759-768.

Craik J C A (1996) Life on Earth – and elsewhere? Biologist 43 106-109.

 

Ornithology

Craik J C A and Harvey S M (1984). Biometrics and colour forms of chicks of Common Terns and Arctic Terns. Ringing and Migration 5 40-48.

Craik J C A and Becker P H (1992). Temporal and spatial variations in body weights of Common Terns and Arctic Terns. Seabird 14 43-47.

Craik J C A (1992) Exceptional mortality of auks, terns and kittiwakes in west Scotland in July 1985. Sula 6 125-138.

Craik J C A (1994) Aspects of wing moult in the Common Tern. Ringing and Migration 15 27-32.

Craik J C A (1995) Effects of North American mink on the breeding success of terns and smaller gulls in west Scotland. Seabird 17 3-11.

Craik J C A (1997). Frequency of mixed clutches at seabird colonies. Seabird 19 3-11.

Craik J C A (1997). Aspects of the biology of the Common Gull from remains left by predators. Ringing and Migration 18 84-90.

Craik J C A and Brown D (1997). Polecats in west Scotland. Glasgow Naturalist 23 50-53.

Craik J C A (1997). Long-term effects of North American mink on seabirds in western Scotland. Bird Study 44 303-309.

Craik J C A (1998). Biometric differences between Common Terns and Arctic Terns. Ringing and Migration 19 75-78.

Craik J C A (1998). Some confusing errors of translation in Borodulina (1966). Seabird 20 48-49.

Craik J C A (1998). Recent mink-related declines of gulls and terns in west Scotland and the beneficial effects of mink control. Argyll Bird Report 14 98-110.

Craik J C A (1999). Some examples of individual specialists among predators. Argyll Bird Report 15 120-123.

Craik J C A (1999). Sexual dimorphism of Common Terns and Arctic Terns. Ringing and Migration 19 311-312.

Craik J C A (1999). Breeding success of Common Gulls in west Scotland I. Observations at a single colony. Atlantic Seabirds 1 (4) 169-181.

Craik J C A (2000). Breeding success of Common Gulls in west Scotland II. Comparisons between colonies. Atlantic Seabirds 2 (1) 1-12.

Craik J C A and Campbell B (2000). Bruce Campbell’s islands revisited: changes in the seabirds of Loch Sunart after half a century. Atlantic Seabirds 2 (3/4) 181-194.

Craik J. C. A. (2000). A simple and rapid method of estimating gull productivity. Bird Study 47: 113-116.

Craik J. C. A. (2008). Sex ratio in catches of American mink – how to catch the females. Journal for Nature Conservation 16: 56-60.

Craik J. C. A. & Bregnballe T. (2008). Late breeding by Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo. Seabird 21: 93-97.

Craik J. C. A. (2008). Use of gulls rather than terns to evaluate control of American mink. Seabird 21: 102-104.

Ratcliffe N., Craik C., Helyar A., Roy S. & Scott M. (2008). Modelling the benefits of American mink management options for terns in west Scotland. Ibis 150 (Suppl.1): 114-121.

Craik J. C. A. (2010). Mixed clutches at seabird colonies in west Scotland 1996-2009. Seabird 23: 41-52.

 

Entomology

Craik J C A (1979). Mark-and-recapture studies of ten moth species at a light-trap. Entomologist’s Gazette 30 115-124.

Craik J C A (1980). Varying ratio of Amphipyra pyramidea pyramidea (L.) and A. berbera svenssoni Fletcher (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) at Ashurst, Hampshire, in 1977 and 1978. Entomologist’s Gazette 31 37-38.

Craik J C A (1980). Differences between the adult females and between the larvae of Amphipyra pyramidea pyramidea (L.) and A. berbera svenssoni Fletcher (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Entomologist’s Gazette 31 231-234.

Craik J C A (1982). Further remarks on the larvae of Amphipyra pyramidea (L.) and A. berbera Rungs. Proceedings and Transactions of the British Entomological and Natural History Society 15 25-26.

Craik J C A (2014). Exceptional catches of Heart and Dart Agrotis exclamationis (L.) (Lep.: Noctuidae) in Devon in 1970. Entomologist’s Record 126 (2): 77-79.

Craik J C A (2015). The antennae of Twin-spotted Quaker Anorthoa (= Orthosia) munda (Lep.: Noctuidae). Entomologist’s Record 127 (3): 119-121.

Craik J C A (2015). Mercury vapour light bulbs – past, present and future. Entomologist’s Record 127 (5): 201-203.

Craik J C A (2017). Quantitative differences in catches made by two kinds of mercury-vapour bulbs used in Robinson moth traps. Entomologist’s Record 129: (in press).

Craik J C A (2017). Changes in name only. Atropos 60: 24-33.

Craik J C A (2018) Images of vertebrate heads in moth wing patterns. Entomologist’s Record 130: 1-14.

 

Armyworms

Craik C, Wormell P, Smith J and Menzel F (2005). Armyworms in west Scotland – a spectacular entomological discovery. Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists’ Society 64 68-69. 

Craik J C A, Wormell P, Smith J E and Menzel F (2005). Long columns of “army worms” in west Scotland – the first record of Sciara militaris Nowicki (Diptera, Sciaridae) in the British Isles. Dipterists’ Digest 12 21-27.

Craik J C A, Wormell P and Austin S (2006). Armyworms (Diptera: Sciaridae) in west Scotland in 2005. Entomologist’s Record 118 115-122.

Craik J C A (2007) Aspects of growth and development of column-forming larvae (“armyworms”) of Sciara militaris Nowicki, 1868 (Diptera: Sciaridae) in west Scotland in 2005. Studia dipterologica 14 (1) 73-83.

Craik J C A (2007). Armyworms – a second site in the British Isles. Bulletin of the Amateur Entomologists’ Society 66 241-243

Craik C and van der Kraan A (2009). Armyworms (Diptera: Sciaridae) at Kilmelford, Argyll, in 2008. Entomologist’s Record 121 183-190.

Craik J C A (2009). Larvae of Borophaga femorata (Diptera, Phoridae) in larval columns of Sciara militaris in west Scotland in 2009. Dipterists’ Digest 16: 100.

 

Molluscs

Craik J C A (2012). The many faces of Akera bullata. Mollusc World issue 28: 6-9.

Craik J C A (2013). The many tails of Akera bullata. Journal of Conchology 41 (4): 445-451.

Craik J C A (2013). Individual specialist predators of molluscs. Mollusc World issue 32:10-12.

Craik J C A (2015) Mating chains of Akera bullata. Mollusc World issue 39: 4.

 

Books and book chapters

Craik J C A (2007). Common Tern Sterna hirundo. Pages 825-828 in Forrester R W et al. (editors) The Birds of Scotland. The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, Aberlady.

Craik J. C. A. (2007). Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea. Pages 833-836 in Forrester R W et al. (editors) The Birds of Scotland. The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, Aberlady.

ap Rheinallt T, Craik J C A, Daw P, Furness R W, Petty S and Wood D (2007). Birds of Argyll. Argyll Bird Club, Lochgilphead. (424 pp).

 

Book reviews

Craik J C A (2011) Review of “A Field Guide to Monitoring Nests” by James Ferguson-Lees, Richard Castell and Dave Leech. Seabird 24:

Craik J C A (2008). Review of The Birds of Scotland. The Eider 84: 5-7.

 

Other publications

Craik J C A (1977). Some less common moths taken in Caernarvonshire. Entomologist’s Record 89 311-312.

Craik J C A (1977). A second generation of the Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth. Entomologist’s Record 89 188.

Craik J C A (1977). Some less common Macrolepidoptera taken at light at Ashurst, Hampshire, from July to December 1976. Entomologist’s Record 89 188.

Craik J C A (1978). Some less common Macrolepidoptera at Ashurst, Hampshire, in 1977. Entomologist’s Record 90 140.

Craik J C A (1978). The Least Carpet (Idaea vulpinaria H-S) in Hampshire. Entomologist’s Record 90 7.

Craik J C A (1979). Notable moth species at Ashurst, Hampshire, in 1978. Entomologist’s Record 91 135-136.

Craik J C A (1980). Notable moth species at Ashurst, Hampshire, in 1979. Entomologist’s Record 92 51.

Craik J C A (1978). Rhyacia simulans (Hufn.): Dotted Rustic in Hampshire. Entomologist’s Record 90 210.

Craik J C A (1978). Occurrence of imago of Common Quaker Orthosia stabilis (D&S) in midwinter. Entomologist’s Record 90 152.

Craik J C A (1980). Records of some non-Lepidopteran insects from the New Forest area. Entomologist’s Record 92 243-246.

Craik J C A (1982). Some of the less common species of Lepidoptera taken at Barcaldine, Argyll, in 1980 and 1981. Entomologist’s Record 94 243-244

Craik J C A (1984). Differences between the females of Amphipyra pyramidea (L.) and A. berbera Rungs: a correction to M. B. G. B. I. volume 10. Entomologist’s Record 96 160-161.

Craik J C A (1986). Rarer moth species at Barcaldine, Argyll, in 1982-1984. Entomologist’s Record 98 38-39.

Craik C, Wormell P, Smith J and Menzel F (2005). Armyworms in west Scotland – a spectacular entomological discovery. Planet Earth (Newsletter of NERC) spring 2005 20.

Craik J C A & van der Kraan A (2008). Remarkable insects of Argyll. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) 86 (Sept 2008): 5-6.

Craik J C A (1989) Results of bird-ringing in Argyll in 1987 and 1988. Argyll Bird Report 5 31-35.

Craik J C A (1990) Results of bird-ringing in Argyll in 1989. Argyll Bird Report 6 58-68.

Craik J C A (1991) Results of bird-ringing in Argyll in 1990. Argyll Bird Report 7 56-66.

Craik J. C. A. (2002). Increasing numbers of Greylag and Canada Geese breeding in mainland sealochs. Argyll Bird Report 18: 123-124.

Craik J C A (2002). Pine Martens and Pied Flycatchers at Bonawe. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) Sept 2002: 10.

Craik J C A (2003). The Burnt Islands and beyond. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) Sept 2003: 1-2. 

Craik J. C. A. (2004). Terns nest on mussel raft at South Shian. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) March 2004: 12-13.

Craik J. C. A. (2004). Record breeding success of terns in west Scotland. Seabird Group Newsletter 98: 6-7.

Craik J C A (2005). Mink in Gigha. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) Sept 2005:

Craik J C A (2005). Superswans. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club)Dec 2005: 6-7. [Dedicated to the memory of Doug Trigg].

Craik J C A (2006). Follow that Siskin. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) March 2006: 13-14.

Craik J C A (2006). The strange events of July 2005. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) March 2006: 9-10.

Craik J C A (2006). Seabirds on the Garvellachs – the reason for their decline. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) Dec 2006: 7-8.

Craik J C A (2007). Three true stories… The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) 82: (Sept 2007): 7.

Craik C & Harvey R (2007). Great Tits nest in traffic cone. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) 82 (Sept 2007): 8.

Craik J. C. A. (2007). A new angle on angling. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) No. 83 (Dec 2007): 8-10.

Craik J. C. A. (2009). Tough 2008 for seabirds. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) No. 88: 16-18.

Craik J. C. A. & Watts N. (2009). How and why the Arctic Tern draws blood. The Eider (Newsletter of Argyll Bird Club) No. 91: 7-9.

Craik C (2013). The South Shian tern rafts. The Eider No. 106: 12-16.

Craik C (2015). Mixed clutches at seabird colonies in Argyll. The Eider No. 114: 15-18.

Nature of Scotland Awards 2013

In 2013 I won the RSPB Species Champion award for my work on the South Shian Tern Rafts, Loch Creran. These were old mussel rafts that we adapted to provide a mink-free breeding area for Common Terns.

 

Results of the Mink-Seabird project were described in the following national newspapers

Seabirds have hatched a cuckoo idea by John Ross. The Scotsman 29 June 2011

The cunning cuckoo’s guide to child care. The Daily Telegraph back page, 28 June 2011.

The Birdman of Barcaldine by Sam Knight. Financial Times Magazine (19 July 2008) pp 31-36.

Murderous touch of mink by Rosalind Jones. The Scotsman Magazine (4 July 1995) 15.

Current affairs article by Andrew Branson in British Wildlife 10 (3) February 1999.

At the mercy of mink by Rob Edwards in New Scientist 29 November 1997 page 26.

Mink could wipe out West Coast seabirds. Article in Press and Journal 24 August 1998.

Killer mink causing seabird disaster. Article in The Independent 22 August 1998 page 5.

Mink blamed for killing birds. Article in The Scotsman 27 November 1997.

Wild mink devour Scottish seabirds Article in The Times 27 November 1997.

Unnatural born killers by Alex McNair in The Glasgow Herald 16 June 1997 page 11.

Trappers ready to make fur fly in bid to control killer mink. Article in Scotland on Sunday 5 January 1997.

Seabird colonies threatened by spread of mink in The Glasgow Herald (late August 1995)

Tern for the worse by Malcolm Smith in The Guardian 17 August 1995 OnLine page 3 

 

I have written many articles for the local press, notably

Mink – the killer that can strike in broad daylight – article in The Oban Times 31 August 1995 page 9.

Killer mink by Clive Craik in The Oban Star 21 June 1995 page 2.

Employment history

Since 1989 Honorary Research Fellow. SAMS

1979-89 SSO, then PSO. Scottish Marine Biological Association (now SAMS)

1976-79 Post-doctoral Fellow. Department of Oceanography, University of Southampton

1972-76 Post-doctoral Fellow. Department of Zoology, University of North Wales, Bangor

 

Education qualifications

1967 Ph.D. Organic chemistry of aphid pigments. Cambridge University

1964 M.A. (Hons.) Chemistry, Physics, Biochemistry, Maths. Cambridge University

1969 B.Sc. (Hons.) Zoology. Durham University