OVERVIEW

My research on wild animals is focused on the concept of survival. Survival is the greatest persistent challenge to every living organism on this planet, and this omnipresent source of stress can be either natural (temperature, weather, food shortage, predators) or human-induced. My research on large predators is bound within these domains, and I work on some of the planet’s largest and most endangered species, including sharks and other terrestrial predators (birds of prey, coyotes, wolves).

I employ a variety of behavioral and physiological tools, most commonly integrating bio-telemetry and movement analysis with an evaluations of nutrition/energy use, blood hormones and metabolites. I also utilize classic behavioral ecology approaches and I am a firm believer in linking theory with observation and natural history. Below are three of my primary areas of focus.

Shark ecology, behavior, and physiology

Sharks are one of the most popular groups of animals on the planet, although today populations of many species are threatened due to overfishing. I am fortunate to have a large research program focusing on advancing our knowledge of these iconic predators, and using this information to inform their conservation. These projects focus on understanding the behavior, stress, nutrition and energy, and reproduction of sharks off North America and the Caribbean, as well as in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. A significant portion of my shark research program is developed in collaboration with close partners from the the Shark Research and Conservation Lab at the University of Miami.

This work includes a new initiative through Beneath the Waves to tag sharks and track their movements along with those of fishing boats, in partnership with Oceana, Google, Skytruth, and the University of Miami.

      Satellite tracks of 12 blue sharks tagged in June and July 2016 off USA.

      Satellite tracks of 12 blue sharks tagged in June and July 2016 off USA.

the role of terrestrial predators

Predator-prey relationships shape entire ecosystems and I am very interested in the role top predators play on food webs and in the lives of humans. I am looking at how predators affect prey species in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, by focusing in on how large carnivores (coyotes, birds, sharks) affect lower-level vertebrate species, using observational studies as well as evaluations of stress hormones.

Effects of stress on fish

Humans are profoundly affecting the daily lives of species. These interactions can be acute and physical, like catching an animal or removing its habitat, or they may occur indirectly through the transmission of sounds or the changing of temperate. I am involved in a variety of projects that look at how real and simulated human stressors like noise pollution and fisheries capture affect fish survival and fitness, in temperate and tropical waters. Much of this work is done in conjunction with my colleagues from the Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Lab at Carleton University, in addition to work with colleagues from Smithsonian.

I invite you to take a deeper look at my Publications to track my research outputs as they develop.

students

Robbie Roemer, University of Miami (MS, Committee)

Cindy Gonzalez, University of Los Andes, Colombia (MS, Co-supervisor)

Jacob Jerome, University of Miami, USA (MS, Committee, Graduated Fall 2016)