The Seabird Ecology Team is an interdisciplinary group of biologists and mathematicians. We study the dynamics of the distribution and behavior of marine birds and mammals. The Team includes faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students from Andrews University, the University of Arizona, and Walla Walla University. Our methodology utilizes mathematical models, dynamical systems theory, statistics, field observations, and experiments. Much of our field work is based at the Walla Walla University Marine Station at Rosario Beach.
Home About Us People Team Publications Research Data Links WWU Marine Station

The Dynamics of Animal Behavior
Birds and mammals exhibit considerable individual variation in behavior. Even so, some behaviors are largely deterministic functions of the environment. We use differential equations and matrix models to predict animal behavior in field populations.

Diurnal Distribution of Marine Birds and Mammals

Animals move from habitat to habitat during the day as they engage in various behaviors relating to feeding, resting, and breeding. The timing of the transitions between behaviors and habitat patches often depends on exogenous conditions. This is particularly true for marine birds and mammals, whose movements typically are influenced by environmental variables such as time of day, tide height, current speed, heat index, and wind speed.

Our team studies the diurnal distribution and abundance dynamics of marine birds and mammals in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Washington. We use differential equation models and discrete-time models to describe and predict the movement of glaucous-winged gulls (Larus glaucescens) between a system of habitat patches associated with a large breeding colony. We also model the haul-out dynamics of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina). We are particularly interested in identifying the environmental determinants of animal movement.

Research conducted by The Seabird Ecology Team is funded by a grant from The National Science Foundation Supported in part by the U. S. National Science Foundation. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NSF.
Andrews University | University of Arizona | Walla Walla University
Created 2006 by Thomas C. Adams