Scott Shaffer

Scott Shaffer

Professor of Ecology and Evolution

Department:  Biological Sciences @ SJSU
Department Website:
Lab Website:


phone: (408) 924-4871
office: Duncan Hall 340 - SJSU campus


Dr. Shaffer was born and raised in San Diego, California (yes, a long-suffering Padres fan).  He earned a B.Sc. in Biology (1993) from San Diego State University while working as an aviculturist at Sea World and animal keeper for the US Navy’s marine mammal training program.  Dr. Shaffer earned an M.Sc. in Marine Science (1996) and Ph.D. in Biology (2000) in the lab of Dr. Daniel Costa at the University of California Santa Cruz.  After working several years as a research scientist in the Institute of Marine Sciences at UCSC, and a year as faculty at California State University San Bernardino, Dr. Shaffer joined the faculty at San Jose State University (2009 - present) where he is currently a Professor of Biology in the Ecology & Evolution and Marine Biology program areas.

Although he was formally trained in physiological ecology, Dr. Shaffer’s research interests are broadly ecological.  He and his students primarily focus on understanding habitat use, foraging ecology, and breeding biology of seabirds in California and the tropical Pacific Ocean.  He has conducted over 40 field campaigns to sites in Antarctica, French sub-Antarctic islands, New Zealand, Alaska, Svalbard, Mexico, Northwest and main Hawaiian Islands, and many sites along the California coast.

Research Interests:
  • Ecology and conservation of marine vertebrates
  • Ecological energetics and patterns of energy allocation
  • Biologging science and remote sensing in marine ecology
  • Avian incubation patterns
  • Data analytics using MATLAB
Curriculum Vitae:
Selected Publications
  • Blévin, P., Shaffer, S.A., Bustamante, P., Angelier, F., Picard, B., Herzke, D., Moe, B., Gabrielsen G.W., Bustnes, J.O., and Chastel, O. (2020) Contaminants, prolactin and parental care in an Arctic seabird: Contrasted associations of perfluoroalkyl substances and organochlorine compounds with egg-turning behavior. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 113420.
  • Fleishman, A.B., Orben, R.A., Kokubun, N., Will, A., Paredes, R., Ackerman, J.T., Takahashi, A., Kitaysky, A., Shaffer, S.A. (2019) Wintering in the western Subarctic Pacific increases mercury contamination of red-legged kittiwakes. Environmental Science & Technology 53(22): 13398-13407.
  • Cockerham, S., Lee, B., Orben, R.A., Suryan, R.M., Torres, L.G., Warzybok, P., Bradley, R., Jahncke, J., Young, H.S., Ouverney, C., and Shaffer, S.A. (2019) Microbial ecology of the western gull (Larus occidentalis). Microbial Ecology 78: 665-676.
  • Harrison, A.-L., Costa, D.P., Winship, A.J., Benson, S.R., Bograd, S.J., Carlisle, A.B., Dewar, H., Dutton, P.H., Jorgensen, S.J., Antolos, M., Kohin, S., Mate, B.R. , Robinson, P.W., Schaefer, K.M., Shaffer, S.A., Shillinger, G.L., Simmons, S.E., Weng, K.C., Gjerde, K.M., and Block, B.A. (2018) The political biogeography of migratory marine predators. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2(10): 1571-1578.
  • Shaffer, S.A., Cockerham, S., Warzybok, P., Bradley, R.W, Jahncke, J., Clatterbuck, C.A., Lucia, M., Jelincic, J., Cassell, A., Kelsey, E.C., and Adams, J. (2017) Population-level plasticity in foraging behavior of western gulls (Larus occidentalis). Movement Ecology 5: 27 (pp. 1-13).
  • Young, H.S.1, Maxwell, S.M., Conners, M.G., and Shaffer, S.A.1 (2015) Pelagic marine protected areas protect foraging habitat for multiple breeding seabirds in the central Pacific. Biological Conservation 181: 226-235. 1 - equal contribution as senior author.
  • Shaffer, S.A., Clatterbuck, C.A., Kelsey, E.C., Naiman, A.D., Young, L.C., VanderWerf, E.A., Warzybok, P., Bradley, R., Jahncke, J., Bower, G.A. (2014) As the egg turns: Monitoring egg attendance behavior in wild birds using novel data logging technology. PLoS ONE 9: e97898.
  • Block, B.A., Jonsen, I.D., Jorgensen, S.J., Winship, A.J., Shaffer, S.A., Bograd, S.J., Hazen, E.L., Foley, D.G., Breed, G.A., Harrison, A.-L., Ganong, J.E., Swithenbank, A., Castleton, M., Dewar, H., Mate, B.R., Shillinger, G.L., Schaefer, K.M., Benson, S.R., Henry, R.W. and Costa, D.P. (2011) Tracking Apex Marine Predator Movements in a Dynamic Ocean. Nature 475: 86-90,
  • Shaffer, S. A., Tremblay, Y., Weimerskirch, H., Scott, D., Thompson, D.R., Sagar, P.M., Moller, H., Taylor, G.A., Foley, D.G., Block, B.A., and Costa, D.P. (2006) Migratory shearwaters integrate oceanic resources across the Pacific Ocean in an endless summer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103: 12799-12802.
  • Shaffer, S.A., Weimerskirch, H., and Costa, D.P. (2001) Functional significance of sexual dimorphism in wandering albatrosses, Diomedea exulans. Functional Ecology 15: 203-210.