1995 Ph.D. in Biology,
1992 M.S. in Marine Sciences,
1987 B.S. in Applied Biology, Georgia
Institute of Technology
Professor, Sonoma State University, 2008 – present.
Research Interests: Comparative Physiology of Vertebrates; Physiological Ecology; Bioenergetics; Behavioral Ecology; Biology of Marine Mammals.
Research Program: My research is focused on the physiological and
behavioral ecology of pinnipeds, seals and sea lions.
My approach is to integrate physiology and behavior with the aim of addressing
ecological theory. I am investigating physiological factors that impact the
reproductive and foraging strategies used by marine predators. Much of my
current research is focused on the physiology and behavior of northern elephant
seals. These investigations include both field and laboratory studies. My field
research focuses on studies of fasting physiology and reproduction when seals
are hauled out on land to breed and diving physiology and foraging when animals
are at sea. My graduate students are exploring a wide variety of research
areas including fasting physiology, foraging behavior and life history
strategies. My lab has a strong collaborative relationship with the
Female northern elephant seal with satellite tracking tag and time-depth recorder attached.
Australian sea lion with satellite tracking and diving instruments attached.
Tracks of male (red) and female (yellow) northern elephant seals on their biannual foraging migrations.
Four months of diving behavior from a crabeater seal in the Antarctic.
My recent work has focused on the metabolic physiology associated with fasting adaptation. I am currently principle investigator of a NSF sponsored study with Dr. D.S. Houser looking at the biochemistry of lactating while fasting in northern elephant seals. These studies examine the biochemical strategies that seals used to make energy rich milk despite fasting completely from food and water. These studies also include investigations of hormonal regulation of metabolism, renal function and reproduction in fasting seals.
I am currently co-principal investigator of NSF and NURP sponsored studies with Dr. D.P. Costa examining the foraging strategies of southern elephant seals and crabeater seals in the Antarctic and their relationship to oceanographic features of the Southern Ocean. These studies are also providing animal-acquired oceanographic data in areas for which satellite and ship-based technologies are limited.
I am currently an investigator on the TOPP (Tagging of Pacific Pelagics) Project working with Dr. D.P. Costa and Dr. B.A. Block and many others. This project has the goal of simultaneously deploying thousands of tracking, behavior, and oceanographic instruments on 21 species of Pacific organisms.