Elephant seals versus white sharks at Isla Guadalupe

“Nunca lo habían hecho antes” (translation: it has never been done before)! This became our motto on our recent research trip to Isla Guadalupe, Mexico where we are studying the predator and prey interactions between northern elephant seals and great white sharks. The phrase was inspired by a documentary about the island, and it is really fun to say in a booming and dramatic voice (try it!). Isla Guadalupe, our field site, is a small …

Continue reading

Leopard Seal Foraging Ecology and Physiology

We are in the process of preparing for a potential field effort in Antarctica investigating the foraging ecology and physiology of leopard seals! We will update this blog as we move forward, so stay tuned for more details. A bit more detail about our project… The climate of the Antarctic Peninsula is warming, resulting in less sea ice. These environmental changes may be pushing many Antarctic organisms beyond their normal physiological and behavior capabilities. The leopard …

Continue reading

A Day in the Life of an Año Field Biologist

We didn’t run out of gas this afternoon, but we were dangerously close… We miraculously MADE IT all the way to Año Nuevo and back in the pouring rain without running out of gas. So as far as I’m concerned, the day was a success. Pro Tips: 1. Always be sure to check the gas gauge in your lab truck 2. Always bring rain gear. Despite being muddy and soggy, we went out in search …

Continue reading

Gearing up for a Winter with elephant seals

I had never thought about how large elephant seals really are until I was standing next to a sleeping bull elephant seal for the first time, feeling exceptionally small. I have been going to Año Nuevo with the Costa Lab since April 2016 as a fortunate participant in the field course BIOE 128L, yet I had never encountered a full-grown male elephant seal until recently. The males had departed the breeding ground by the time …

Continue reading