The Behavioral REsearch And eCosystem Health lab

at the University of Alaska Southeast &

the College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks



The overall aim of this lab is to understand the behavior and ecology of marine mammals, and their role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. A wide network of collaborators, undergraduates, and graduate students are involved in projects related to this theme. Click on the links to the right to learn more about current research and students. 

If you are a prospective student, please read through the project descriptions on this website. Also review the admission requirements to the UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences: I do not currently have funding to support additional students. However, highly talented students may be able to obtain their own funding so please contact me if you are interested.




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Sunday, June 15, 2014

First days in the field


Photo Album

Uploaded: Sun Jun 15 01:22:37 2014
by Heidi Pearson



We had a great first two days in the field. It was sunny and not too cold....not too different from a summer day in Juneau. We did have 6 feet swells to deal with, but our trusty boat and captain handled them well! The main dusky dolphin pod was too far south these past two days for us to reach them, but we did manage to see a few small dusky groups. We even conducted our first focal follow today.  A focal follow is when we observe a group for an hour and collect detailed behavioral information. Hopefully the duskies will be back north soon!


Although we didn't see as many duskies as we would have liked to these past two days, we were treated to sights of many other marine mammals - New Zealand fur seals, Hector's dolphins, sperm whales, and a killer whale. Today was my first time seeing a sperm whale, which was pretty exciting! All in the span of about an hour, we saw a sperm whale, the largest toothed whale; a killer whale, the largest dolphin; and Hector's dolphins, the smallest dolphin. Kaikoura has one of the highest levels of marine mammal biodiversity on the planet, and it has definitely proven to be true these past two days. Not to mention the dozen or so seabird species in the area! Among the seabirds were several different albatross species, including the largest bird capable of flight, the wandering albatross.

Dusky dolphin photos taken under Marine Mammal Research Permit from the New Zealand Department of Conservation issued to Heidi Pearson. Do not duplicate.

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