Costa Lab, ecology, physiology, and conservation of marine animals
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Scott Shaffer
Ano Nuevo Reserve Director & Lecturer

Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UC Santa Cruz, 2009
B.S. Marine Biology, UC Santa Cruz, 2003


Curriculum Vitae

My primary interest is understanding how marine predators make a living in the open ocean. To do this, I work with a variety of researchers to attach biologging instruments (e.g. time-depth recorders and satellite tracking tags) to free-ranging seals and sea lions. Using these data, we can ask some interesting questions:

-How do these animals navigate accurately across thousands of kilometers of feature-less ocean?

-Where do these animals find the best prey resources?

-Can oceanographic features be used to predict where animals will find prey?

I have been fortunate to work on a variety of species to help answer these questions: northern elephant seals,California sea lions, Weddell seals, crabeater seals, and Galapagos sea lions.

Prior to joining the Costa lab, I was involved with two research projects on Catalina Island . (1) Spiny lobster population monitoring, (2) Subtidal algae/invertebrate/fish surveys for the Cooperative Research and Assessment of NearshoreEcosystems (CRANE) project.

Meir, J.U., Robinson, P.W., Vilchis, L.I., Costa, D.P., and Ponganis, P.J. (In review:  Journal of Animal Ecology).  Oxygen depletion is independent of activity in diving elephant seals.

New, L. F., Clark, J. S., Costa, D.P., Fleishman, E., Hindell, M.A., Klanjšček, T., Lusseau, D., Kraus, S., McMahon, C.R., Robinson, P. W., Schick, R., Schwarz, L.K., Simmons, S. E., Thomas, L., Tyack, P. and Harwood, J. (In review:  Marine Ecology Progress Series).  Death by a Thousand Cuts: Assessing the Population Consequences of Disturbance.

Villegas-Amtmann, S., Jeglinski, J.E., Costa, D.P., Robinson, P.W., Trillmich, F. (In review:  PLoS One).  Inter- and intra-specific foraging niche overlap in Galapagos sea lions and fur seals.

Goldstein, T., Mena, I., Anthony, S., Medina, R., Robnson, P.W., Greig, D., Costa, D.P., Garcia-Sastre, A., Boyce, W.M. (Accepted:  PLoS One).  Pandemic H1N1 isolated from free-ranging northern elephant seals in 2010 off the central California coast.

Schick, R.S. New, L., Thomas, L., Costa, D.P., Hindell, M.A., McMahon, C., Robinson, P.W., Simmons, S.E., Harwood, J., and James S. Clark. (Accepted:  Journal of Animal Ecology)  Foraging strategy, maternal status, and organism-environment interaction determine at-sea health of Northern and Southern elephant seals.

Naito, Y., Costa, D. P., Adachi, D., Robinson, P. W., Fowler, M., Takahashi, A. (2013).  Unraveling the mysteries of a mesopelagic diet: a large apex predator specializes on small prey.  Functional Ecology (currently online-only).

Costa, D.P., Breed, G., Robinson, P.W. (2012).  New Insights in Pelagic Migrations: Implications for Ecology and Conservation.  Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 43:73-96.

Hayes, S.A., Teutschel, N.M., Michel, C.J., Champagne, C., Fowler, M., Robinson, P.W., Yack, T., Mellinger, D., Simmons, S.E., Costa, D.P., MacFarlane, R.B. (In Press: Environmental Biology of Fishes) Mobile receivers: releasing the mooring to ‘see’ where fish go.

Jeglinski, J.W.E., Werner, C., Robinson, P.W., Costa, D.P., Trillmich, F. (In Press, Marine Ecology Progress Series). The slow route to independence: stable isotope and dive analysis reveal the foraging ontogeny of the Galapagos sea lion.

Maxwell, S.M., Frank, J.J., Breed, G.A., Robinson, P.W., Simmons, S.E., Crocker, D.E., Gallo-Reynoso, J.P., Costa, D.P. (In Press: Marine Mammal Science). Benthic foraging on seamounts by a deep diving marine mammal.

Robinson, P.W., Costa, D.P.,Crocker, D.E., Gallo-Reynoso, J.P., Champagne, C.D.,Fowler, M.A., Goetsch, C., Goetz, K.T., Hassrick, J.L., Huckstadt, L.A., Kuhn, C.E., Maresh, J.L., Maxwell, S.M., McDonald, B.I., Peterson, S.H., Simmons, S.E., Teutschel, N.M., Villegas-Amtmann, S., Yoda, K. (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

Breed, G.A., Costa, D.P., Jonsen, I.D., Robinson, P.W., Flemming, J.M. (2012). State-space methods for more completely capturing behavioral dynamics from animal tracks. Ecological Modelling 235-236: 49-58

Goetz, K. T., Robinson, P. W., Hobbs, R. C., Laidre, K. L., Huckstadt, L. A., Shelden, K. E. W. (2012). Movement and dive behavior of beluga whales in Cook Inlet, Alaska. AFSC Processed Rep. 2012-03, 40 p. Alaska Fish. Sci. Cent., NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle WA 98115.

Winship, A.J., Jorgensen, S.J., Shaffer, S.A., Jonsen, I.D., Robinson, P.W., Costa, D.P., Block, B.A. (2012). State-space framework for estimating measurement error from double-tagging telemetry experiments. Methods in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 3 (2): 291-302.

Aoki, K., Watanabe, Y., Crocker, D.E., Robinson, P.W., Biuw, M., Costa, D.P., Fedak, M.A., Miller, P.J.O. (2011). Northern elephant seals adjust gliding and stroking patterns with changes in buoyancy: validation of at-sea metrics of body density. Journal of Experimental Biology (214) 2973-2987.

Moore, A.M., Arango, H.G., Broquet, G., Edwards, C., Veneziani, M., Powell, B., Foley, D., Doyle, J., Costa, D.P., Robinson, P.W. (2011). The Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) 4-DimensionalVariational Data Assimilation Systems: II - Performance and Application to the California Current System.Progress in Oceanography (91) 50-73.

Moore, A.M., Arango, H.G., Broquet, G., Edwards, C., Veneziani, M., Powell, B., Foley, D., Doyle, J., Costa, D.P., Robinson, P.W. (in press). The Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) 4-DimensionalVariational Data Assimilation Systems: III - Observation Impact and Observation Sensitivity in the California Current System. Progress in Oceanography (91) 74-94.

Breed, G. A., D. P. Costa, M. E. Goebel, P. W. Robinson. (2011). Electronic tracking tag programming is critical to data collection for behavioral time-series analysis. Ecosphere 2(1):art10. doi:10.1890/ES10-00021.1

Matsumura, M., Watanabe, Y., Robinson, P.W., Miller, P., Costa, D.P., Nobuyuki,. (2011). Underwater and surface behavior of homing juvenile northern elephant seals. Journal of Experimental Biology 214, 629-636.

Robinson, P.W., Simmons, S.E., Crocker, D.E., Costa, D.P. (2010). Measurements of Foraging Success in a Highly Pelagic Marine Predator, the Northern Elephant Seal. Journal of Animal Ecology.

Kappes, M.A., Shaffer, S.A., Tremblay, Y., Robinson, P.W., Anderson, D.J.,Awkerman, J.A., Bograd, S.J., Foley, D.G., Palacios, D.M, Costa, D.P. (2010). Hawaiian albatrosses track inter-annual variability of marine habitats in the North Pacific. Progress in Oceanography 86, 246-260.

Costa, D.P., Robinson, P.W., Arnould, J.P.Y., Harrison, A-L., Simmons, S.E., Hassrick, J.L., Hoskins, A.J.,Kirkman, S.P., Oosthuizen, H., Villegas-Amtmann, S., Crocker, D.E. (2010). Accuracy of ARGOS Locations of Pinnipeds at-Sea Estimated Using Fastloc GPS. PLoS ONE 5(1): e8677. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008677

Simmons, S.E., Crocker, D.E., Hassrick, J.L., Kuhn, C.E., Robinson, P.W., Tremblay, Y., Costa, D.P. (2010). Climate scale hydrographic features related to foraging success in a capital breeder: the northern elephant seal Mirounga angustirostrisEndangered Species Research 10: 233–243.

Hassrick, J.L., Crocker, D.E., Teutschel, N.M., McDonald, B.I., Robinson, P.W., Simmons, S.E., Costa, D.P. (2010). Condition and mass impact oxygen stores and dive duration in adult female northern elephant seals. Journal of Experimental Biology 213, 585-592.

Robinson, P.W. (2009). Exploiting pelagic habitat:: navigation, migration, and foraging success in the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris). Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California Santa Cruz. Advisor: Daniel P. Costa.

Tremblay, Y.T., Robinson, P.W., Costa, D.P. (2009). A parsimonious approach to modeling animal movement data. PLoS One 4(3): e4711.

Robinson, P.W., Villegas-Amtmann, S., Costa, D.P. (2009). Field validation of an inexpensive time-depth recorder. Marine Mammal Science 25(1): 199-205.

Robinson, P.W., Tremblay, Y., Crocker, D.E., Kappes, M.A., Kuhn, C.E., Shaffer, S.A., Simmons, S.E., Costa, D.P. (2007). A comparison of indirect measures of feeding behavior based on ARGOS tracking data.Deep Sea Research II 54: 356-368.

Iacchei, M.J., Robinson, P.W., Miller, K.A. (2005). Direct impacts of commercial and recreational fishing on spiny lobster populations at Santa Catalina IslandCaliforniaUnited StatesNew ZealandJournal of Marine and Freshwater Research 39 (6): 1201-1214.