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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Friday, July 04, 2014

VHF Tracking Practice


Photo Album

Uploaded: Fri Jul 4 02:35:11 2014
by Heidi Pearson

Kristin has arrived, and she brought the tags! Kristin arrived last night, after a long 2-day journey from Juneau. We were all very excited to see her. I was also excited to see the tags (and my Xtra Tuff boots) that Chris sent with her.  For the past 2 weeks, Chris was working back home in Juneau to assemble the tag components and fit them onto the float. Everything arrived in one piece and I woke up early this morning, eager to test everything out.

The goal for today was to test out the VHF tracking system. The system consists of a VHF transmitter, which is on the tag itself; a receiver, to hear the transmitter; an antenna, to relay the signal from the transmitter to the receiver; and headphones, to hear the signal from the receiver.

Our first mission this morning was to test out the range of the tag. Adrian went out on the Dolphin Encounter tour boat and brought the tag with him. The distance from which the transmitter can be heard increases greatly with height, so I went up to the lookout point to listen. There was interference from the radio towers near the lookout point, so I went down the road and hiked through the pastures to the highest point on the peninsula. From this vantage point, I could still hear the tag signal when the boat was over 5 miles away. This was really good! This is important to know in case we lose the tag on the water and we need to triangulate the tag's position from shore.

This afternoon, all four of us - Heidi, Kristin, Adrian, and I - went out to the pastures behind the house and practiced our homing skills to find the transmitter. Everyone did really well. The best game was when we shut our eyes and spun around in circles and then had to locate the direction the tag was in, while still keeping our eyes closed. Tomorrow we will play hide and seek with the transmitter to further refine our tracking skills. Thanks to Heidi and Adrian for sharing their action shots of today's tracking fun!

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