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Sarah Hardee Peterson
Ph.D. Student, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
saepeter@ucsc.edu

M.Sc., Marine and Estuarine Science, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, 2008
B.A., Biology and Environmental Studies, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, 2005
Curriculum Vitae

Pinnipeds


I am studying northern elephant seals, Mirounga angustirostris, at Año Nuevo State Reserve for my research. I am am interested in a broad range of ecological questions including how northern elephant seals may accumulate contaminants over the course of their foraging trips, their impact on prey populations and how their foraging locations and movements align with other upper-trophic level marine species in the north Pacific.

My research experience and work as a naturalist and science educator have provided me insight into a variety of diverse ecosystems with a focus on upper trophic-level predators. I began the fieldwork component of my ecological career while studying abroad in Africa as an undergraduate. I spent time at the Botswana Wild Dog research camp, where I conducted their yearly ungulate census and helped in the tracking and observation of wild-dogs. I then transitioned gears to conduct research in Sweden for my undergraduate thesis on the specific visual and olfactory cues that a small solitary bee species uses to find the host-plant on which it specializes. After graduating from Whitman College, I worked for over a year as a naturalist in the San Juan Islands of Washington and a science instructor at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, CA. The Ocean Institute is a non-profit marine institute in southern California where kindergarten through community college students come for marine-based science laboratory and boat programs. I then obtained my Masters degree in Washington studying the movements, home ranges, haul-out site fidelity and abundance of harbor seals, Phoca vitulina, in the Salish Sea. While in graduate school, I was able to spend portions of my summers in southeast Alaska working as the naturalist on a boat that conducted weeklong nature cruises with just a dozen passengers. After finishing my Master's degree I was thrilled to get a position studying gray wolves in Yellowstone National Park, working for Dr. Doug Smith. I was part of two winter predation studies and one summer predation study, quantifying the kill-rates and identifying prey selection of gray wolf packs in the northern range of Yellowstone NP. I then transitioned back towards the marine environment while working for USGS on an avian research project in south San Francisco Bay. Now I am here in Santa Cruz and back to marine ecology for my own research!

***Link to Sarah's website

***A short video about some of Sarah's mercury research

***Follow elephant seals currently at sea (2013) in real time!


Peterson, S.E., M. L. Lance, S. J. Jeffries and A. Gutierrez. 2012. Long distance movements and disjunct spatial use of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) in the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest. PLoS ONE 7(6): e39046. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039046

Robinson, P.W., D.P. Costa, D.E. Crocker, J.P. Gallo-Reynoso, C.D. Champagne, M.A. Fowler, C. Goetsch, K.T. Goetz, J.L. Hassrick, L.A. Huckstadt, C.E. Kuhn, J.L. Maresh, S.M. Maxwell, B.I. McDonald, S.E. Peterson, S.E. Simmons, N.M. Teutschel, S. Villegas-Amtmann, K. Yoda. 2012. Foraging behavior and success of a mesopelagic predator in the northeast Pacific Ocean: insights from a data-rich species, the northern elephant seal. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36728. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036728

Hardee, S.E. 2008. Movements and home ranges of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) in the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest. Master of Science Thesis. Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA


Peterson, S.E., J. Ackerman, and D. Costa. Satellite telemetry and depth recorders reveal mercury bioaccumulation by northern elephant seals in the north Pacific. International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant. Edinburgh, Scotland. Oral Presentation. 2013.

Peterson, S.E., J. Ackerman, and D. Costa. Mercury correlations among tissues in an extreme fasting marine mammal. International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant. Edinburgh, Scotland. Poster Presentation. 2013.

Peterson, S.E., J. Hassrick, C. Debier, D. Crocker and D. Costa. Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) bulk concentrations and congener profiles in a highly migratory marine mammal. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB). San Francisco, California. Oral Presentation. 2013.

Peterson, S.E., J. Hassrick, C. Debier, D. Crocker and D. Costa. Are love handles toxic? Changes of PCBs and DDTs in northern elephant seal blubber relative to foraging location and success. 19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Tampa Bay, Florida. Poster Presentation. 2011.

Peterson, S.E., M. L. Lance, S. J. Jeffries, P. F. Olesiuk and A. Gutierrez. Movements and home ranges of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) in the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest. 18th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Quebec City, Canada. Oral Presentation. 2009.

Hardee, S.E., Movements and home ranges of harbor seals in the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest. Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Research Summary Presentation. Mount Vernon, WA. Oral Presentation. 2008.

Hardee, S.E., K. Reuland, M. L. Lance, S. J. Jeffries, P. F. Olesiuk and A. Gutierrez. Movements and home ranges of harbor seals in the inland waters of the Pacific Northwest. Ocean Sciences Meeting. Orlando, FL. Poster Presentation. 2008.

Peterson, M.G., S.E. Hardee, S. Linneman and A. Acevedo-Gutierrez. Integrating novel approaches to classroom structure with local ocean science models through graduate student-teacher partnerships in Washington State. Ocean Sciences Mtg. Orlando, FL. Poster Presentation. 2008.

Hardee, S.E. Harbor seal movements and hot-spots in the Georgia Basin revealed through the use of satellite-telemetry. Annual Meetings of the NW Student Chapter of the Marine Mammal Society. Oral Presentations. 2007 & 2008.

Hardee, S.E. Home range and haul-out use of Pacific harbor seals in northern WA and southern BC. Shannon Point Marine Laboratory Summer Lecture Series. Anacortes, WA. Oral Presentation. 2007.

Hardee, S.E., M. Peterson. Visual and olfactory stimuli in host-plant identification by the oligolectic bee Chelostoma fuliginosum (Megachilidae). Pacific Branch of the Entomological Society Annual Meeting. Asilomar, CA. Poster Presentation. 2005.