CAREER: Integrating Behavior and Demography in Marine Mammal Conservation

Project: Research project

Description

Individual differences in behavior and social status can in theory determine the rate of population change and thus the threat that imperiled species face in the real world. Similarly, the intricacies of mate choice and reproductive behavior provide a mechanistic link between behavioral ecology and population biology. While there has been an increase in the number of studies addressing the interface between behavior and conservation theory, a paradigm for applying behavioral knowledge to real-world conservation problems has not yet been developed. The goal of the proposed REU supplement is to train undergraduates to understand this interface through participation in a large, international research team. Specifically, we hope to recruit two students to develop individual projects on California sea lion populations in the Gulf of California (GoC), Mexico. One student will develop an approach for photo-identification as a marking technique for California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). The second student will pursue a project on the genetic relatedness in adult California sea lions as an indicator of philopatry. Both projects will be developed on 3 different islands in the Gulf of California that present different density, growth rate and tourism impact so each sample will represent a distinct treatment.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date4/15/043/31/10

Funding

  • NSF: Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO): $550,500.00

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pinniped
marine mammal
demography
student
philopatry
social status
behavioral ecology
reproductive behavior
mate choice
relatedness
train
tourism
project
gulf