Elizabeth Craig studies colonial waterbirds (birds that nest in colonies and consume aquatic resources), including seabirds. As top predators, colonial waterbirds are sensitive to conditions throughout aquatic food webs. They are threatened by environmental contamination, coastal habitat destruction, overfishing, and climate change.
Her research aims to better understand how these birds interact with their environment in order to address conservation and management issues. Dr. Craig's specific study system at the University of New Hampshire is the colony of threatened and endangered terns breeding at the Isles of Shoals. She works through the Shoals Marine Laboratory to study aspects of their ecology and behavior that are critical to conservation; including diet, foraging behavior, habitat preferences, migration, and exposure to marine debris (particularly the consumption of micro-plastics) .