Biotelemetry and Behavioral Ecology Lab

What we do

The Bio-Telemetry and Behavioral Ecology Laboratory is focused on using new biotelemetry technology to understand the underwater behavior and ecology of marine mammals.  As animals that live largely out of sight from direct observation, devising new tools to measure, interpret, and quantify the behavioral ecology of marine mammals is critical.  We are interested in the behavior of animals across a range of spatial and temporal scales and how this is affected by a variety of ecological inputs.

Currently our research is focused on these central themes:

  • How do we measure feeding events in baleen whales?
  • How do changes in the feeding behavior of whales relate to changes in their prey?
  • How is the behavior of marine mammals affected by anthropogenic sounds in the ocean?
  • How are the distribution, behavior, and population structure of baleen whales in Antarctica influenced by a rapidly changing environment?
  • How is the behavior and physiology of marine mammal affected by anthropogenic sound and marine traffic?
  • What are the current demographic and population dynamic trajectories of recovering baleen whales?

Each of these themes is being addressed in a different long-term research program.  Through the incorporation of both new sensor packages, video, and audio technology, as well as biological and physiological monitoring from long term tissue datasets, we are working with colleagues at a number of universities and institutes globally to develop new approaches to monitor and conserve marine mammal populations from the smallest porpoise to the largest whale.