Being Individual

Grey seal breeding colonies are stressful places. Hundreds or even thousands of females arrive on shore every autumn, jostling and moving about to find the perfect spot to give birth and nurse their pups. As the season progresses, pups begin to wander about, trying to avoid the hormonal males who are picking fights and waiting […]

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Coastal Molecular Monitoring

Both wildlife and humans depend on marine coastal habitats and the species that reside there, but these places are experiencing changing environmental conditions and human activity, which could potentially harm coastal resources. In order for state and federal agencies to manage and protect these environments, methods are needed to detect changes in coastal environments over […]

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Stressful times

Sattler R, Bishop AM, Polasek L. 2020. Cortisol Levels for Pregnant and Non-Pregnant Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus) in Human Care. Aquatic Mammals, 46: 146-151. Open Access Feeling stressed? Repeating the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy advice “Don’t Panic” to yourself? You’re not alone…in more ways than you may know! All animals experience ‘stress’. We’ve […]

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A Steller Study

Paper in a Nutshell: Bishop, Dubel, Sattler, Brown, Horning. 2019. Wanted dead or alive: characterizing likelihood of juvenile Steller sea lion predation from diving and space use patterns. Endangered Species Research. Endangered species is a topic that we can all relate to. Whether it is a Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) that is living in your […]

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Paper in a Nutshell: Nielsen, Christiansen, 2019. Greenland Shark (Somniosus microcephalus) Stomach Contents and Stable Isotope Values Reveal an Ontogenetic Dietary Shift. Frontiers in Marine Science. What can sharks tell us about ocean food webs? The ocean is full of creatures, from benthic invertebrates to pelagic fish to the largest mammals in the world. […]


Data in the blind spot

Paper in a Nutshell:Constraint lines and performance envelopes in behavioral physiology: the case of the aerobic dive limit. Markus Horning, Frontiers in Physiology 2012; 3:381 All humans have a blind spot (puntum caecum in medical parlance): if you look directly at something it’s hard to see, but if you look to the side it becomes […]

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Age: Is it really just a number?

Allen et al. 2019. “Muscular apoptosis but not oxidative stress increases with old age in a long-lived diver, the Weddell seal” Journal of Experimental Biology. You’ve likely heard of “dog years” before, but what about seal years? Do wild animals age the same way that pets and humans do? Turns out – we don’t always […]

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Instruction manuals for scientists

Horning M, et al. 2019. Best practice recommendations for the use of external telemetry devices on pinnipeds. Animal Biotelemetry, 7(1), 1-17. Open Access As scientists, we often connect with each other over a coffee at conferences, through message boards on online forums, and more recently through various social media outlets such as blogging and twitter.  Connecting with […]

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Home Sweet Home Range

Paper in a Nutshell Bishop AM, Brown CB, Rehberg M, Torres L, & Horning M. 2018. Juvenile Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) utilization distributions in the Gulf of Alaska. Movement Ecology, 6:6 Open Access *** It is a Saturday morning. You wake up, walk to your kitchen, and make breakfast. Maybe you then head out […]

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Mighty Mussels Vs Oil

Paper in a nutshell based on the recent publication: Counihan, K (2018) The physiological effects of oil, dispersant and dispersed oil on the bay mussel, Mytilus trossulus, in Arctic/Subarctic conditions. Aquatic Toxicology 199:220-231.   Oil spills have a major impact on coastal environments, and dispersants are used to help speed up oil degradation. The combination […]

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Tooth and Claw

How does a seal capture and eat it’s prey in the water? Several people and institutions came together to investigate this question and explore the evolution of prey processing behaviors in phocine (seals) and otariid (sea lions). This collaborative work included researchers from Monash University in Australia, University of St. Andrews in the UK, Museum of […]

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Between a rock and a cold place

This nutshell is based on a recently published paper: Hoover-Miller and Armato. 2017. Harbor seal use of glacier ice and terrestrial haul-outs in the Kenai Fjords, Alaska. Mar Mamm Sci.  Background: Where ice meets the sea Many people come to Alaska to see the impressive tidewater glaciers in the fjords of southeastern and southcentral Alaska. […]

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A 45-year examination of moose genetic diversity on Isle Royale

This nutshell is based on a recently published paper: Decline of heterozygosity in a large but isolated population: a 45-year examination of moose genetic diversity on Isle Royale.  Renae L. Sattler, Janna R. Willoughby and Bradley J. Swanson. PeerJ 2017 5:e3584. (     Question: Should the loss of genetic diversity be a wildlife management concern for […]

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