Physiological constraints and life history trade-offs drive marine mammal behavior-January 31st

Roxanne Beltran, UC Santa Cruz

Moss Landing Marine Labs Seminar Series - January 31st, 2019

Hosted by The Vertebrate Ecology Lab

MLML Seminar Room, 4pm

Open to the public

Roxanne obtained her PhD in 2018 from the University of Alaska
Fairbanks studying behavior and life history phenology in the world’s
most southern mammal, the Weddell seal. For her postdoctoral research
at UC Santa Cruz, Roxanne hopes to better understand the strategies
that seals use to survive and thrive in the open ocean; specifically,
how their behavior and survival may be impacted by our changing
planet. With funding from National Geographic, Roxanne is deploying
trackers with a research team to learn how elephant seal pups navigate
and dive during their first ocean migration. In addition to her
research, Roxanne is passionate about science communication and
inclusion of underrepresented minority students in scientific
research. She has written a children’s book, “A Seal Named Patches”
and has visited more than 4,000 K-12 students to share her work.

The life histories of semi-aquatic mammals are characterized
by various challenges that arise from the conflicting dynamics of
living both on land and at sea. Animals have evolved a variety of
solutions to cope with these challenges, from flexible life history
phenologies to wide-ranging behavioral strategies. The resulting
variability within- and between-species provides an opportunity to
evaluate how trade-offs are driven by a combination of physiological
constraints and ecological processes. Using a combination of
free-ranging and captive pinnipeds, I show how animal behavior can be
used to predict potential responses to global change.