Elizabeth Mchuron

Elizabeth Mchuron
University of Washington Seattle | UW · Cooperative Instutute for Climate Ocean and Ecosystem Studies

PhD

About

39
Publications
8,910
Reads
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609
Citations
Citations since 2017
26 Research Items
576 Citations
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
Introduction
Additional affiliations
September 2012 - June 2016
University of California, Santa Cruz
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
September 2012 - June 2017
University of California, Santa Cruz
Field of study
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Bioloty
January 2008 - July 2012
Moss Landing Marine Labs
Field of study
  • Marine Science

Publications

Publications (39)
Article
Full-text available
Reproductive costs represent a significant proportion of a mammalian female's energy budget. Estimates of reproductive costs are needed for understanding how alterations to energy budgets, such as those from environmental variation or human activities, impact maternal body condition, vital rates and population dynamics. Such questions are increasin...
Article
Marine central-place foragers are increasingly faced with altered prey landscapes, necessitating predictions of the impact of such changes on behavior, reproductive success, and population dynamics. We used state-dependent behavioral life history theory implemented via Stochastic Dynamic Programming (SDP) to explore the influence of changes in prey...
Article
Full-text available
We used a stochastic dynamic programming (SDP) model to quantify the consequences of disturbance on pregnant western gray whales during one foraging season. The SDP model has a firm basis in bioenergetics, but detailed knowledge of minimum reproductive length of females (Lmin) and the relationship between length and reproductive success (Rfit) was...
Article
Full-text available
Bioenergetic approaches are increasingly used to understand how marine mammal populations could be affected by a changing and disturbed aquatic environment. There remain considerable gaps in our knowledge of marine mammal bioenergetics, which hinder the application of bioenergetic studies to inform policy decisions. We conducted a priority-setting...
Article
Estimates of prey and energy consumption are important for effective management and conservation of marine mammals and the ecosystems they inhabit. We used routinely collected husbandry data on body mass, food intake (kilograms), and energy intake (megajoules) from northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) in zoological institutions to examine how t...
Article
Mercury (Hg) is a well-known toxicant in wildlife and humans. High total Hg concentrations ([THg]) have been reported in central California harbor seals Phoca vitulina richardii. We evaluated the effects of presence/absence of early natal coat (lanugo), year (2012 to 2017), sex, stranding location, and trophic ecology (ẟ¹³C and ẟ¹⁵N values) on hair...
Article
Acoustic disturbance is a growing conservation concern for wildlife populations because it can elicit physiological and behavioral responses that can have cascading impacts on population dynamics. State‐dependent behavioral and life history models implemented via Stochastic Dynamic Programming (SDP) provide a natural framework for quantifying biolo...
Article
Full-text available
Food availability is a key concern for the conservation of marine top predators, particularly during a time when they face a rapidly changing environment and continued pressure from commercial fishing activities. Northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) breeding on the Pribilof Islands in the eastern Bering Sea have experienced an unexplained popul...
Article
Full-text available
Quantifying metabolic rates and the factors that influence them is key to wildlife conservation efforts because anthropogenic activities and habitat alteration can disrupt energy balance, which is critical for reproduction and survival. We investigated the effect of diving behaviour, diet and season on field metabolic rates (FMR) and foraging succe...
Article
Mercury (Hg) poses a health risk to wildlife populations and has been documented at relatively high concentrations in many marine mammals, including wild-caught pinnipeds along the central California coast. We measured total Hg concentrations ([THg]) in hair and blood of live-stranded harbor seals (HS, Phoca vitulina), California sea lions (CSL, Za...
Article
Full-text available
Animals make behavioural and reproductive decisions that maximise their lifetime reproductive success, and thus their fitness, in light of periodic and stochastic variability of the environment. Modelling the variation of an individual's energy levels formalises this tradeoff and helps to quantify the population‐level consequences of stressors (e.g...
Chapter
Feeding ecology is a primary driver of contaminant exposure for mammalian species, thus tools to quantify diet and habitat use are a key component of many ecotoxicological studies. In this chapter, we discuss the fate and transport of contaminants to coastal ecosystems and review the feeding ecology tools available for coastal mammals, a group comp...
Article
Human activities continue to expand in marine and terrestrial environments, leading to increased interactions with wildlife that can have negative impacts on population dynamics. Approaches for quantifying how these interactions translate to population-level effects are therefore crucial for effective management practices and balancing human-wildli...
Article
Full-text available
Marine predators frequently exhibit consistency in foraging behaviors despite the dynamic nature of marine ecosystems, which has the potential for ecological and evolutionary implications depending on the timescale at which it persists. We examined behavioral consistency in movements and diving behavior of adult female California sea lions (Zalophu...
Article
Full-text available
Intraspecific variability in foraging behavior has been documented across a range of taxonomic groups, yet the energetic consequences of this variation are not well understood for many species. Understanding the effect of behavioral variation on energy expenditure and acquisition is particularly crucial for mammalian carnivores because they have hi...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Understanding the key drivers of animal movement is crucial to assist in mitigating adverse impacts of anthropogenic activities on marine megafauna. We found that movement patterns of marine megafauna are mostly independent of their evolutionary histories, differing significantly from patterns for terrestrial animals. We detected a rem...
Article
Full-text available
Characterizing habitat suitability for a marine predator requires an understanding of the environmental heterogeneity and variability over the range in which a population moves during a particular life cycle. Female California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are central-place foragers and are particularly constrained while provisioning their you...
Article
Full-text available
Integrating behavior and physiology is critical to formulating new hypotheses on the evolution of animal life-history strategies. Migratory capital breeders acquire most of the energy they need to sustain migration, gestation, and lactation before parturition. Therefore, when predicting the impact of environmental variation on such species, a mecha...
Article
Full-text available
Quantifying energy demands and prey consumption of marine mammals is important to understand the population dynamics of species and their ecological role in marine ecosystems. We developed a bioenergetic model to quantify the energy and prey requirements of adult female California sea lions Zalophus californianus, an abundant predator that has rece...
Article
Full-text available
Intraspecific variability is increasingly recognized as an important component of foraging behavior that can have implications for both population and community dynamics. We used an individual-level approach to describe the foraging behavior of an abundant, generalist predator that inhabits a dynamic marine ecosystem, focusing specifically on the d...
Article
Full-text available
Stable isotope analysis (SIA) of whiskers is increasingly used to investigate the foraging ecology of pinnipeds. An understanding of whisker growth dynamics is lacking for most species yet is necessary for study design and interpretation of isotope data. Here we present measurements of whisker growth obtained using photogrammetry in 5 California se...
Conference Paper
Since the introduction of the population consequences of disturbance (PCoD) conceptual model, lost energy has become a central component of modelling biologically meaningful disturbance. Long-term datasets on northern elephant seals of Año Nuevo, CA and bottlenose dolphins of Sarasota Bay, FL span several environmental disturbances, allowing us to...
Article
Full-text available
Rationale: Mixing models are a common method for quantifying the contribution of prey sources to the diet of an individual using stable isotope analysis; however, these models rely upon a known trophic discrimination factor (hereafter, TDF) that results from fractionation between prey and animal tissues. Quantifying TDFs in captive animals is idea...
Article
1. Anthropogenic disturbance is of increasing concern for wildlife populations, necessitating the development of models that link behavioural changes at the individual level with biologically meaningful changes at the population level. 2. We developed a general framework for estimating the fitness consequences of disturbance that affects foraging b...
Article
Full-text available
We measured total mercury (THg) concentrations in California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) and examined how concentrations varied with age class, colony, and sex. Because Hg exposure is primarily via diet, we used nitrogen (δ 15N) and carbon (δ 13C) stable isotopes to determine if intraspecific differences in THg concentrations could be explai...
Article
Full-text available
Mercury (Hg) biomonitoring of pinnipeds increasingly utilizes nonlethally collected tissues such as hair and blood. The relationship between total Hg concentrations ([THg]) in these tissues is not well understood for marine mammals, but it can be important for interpretation of tissue concentrations with respect to ecotoxicology and biomonitoring....
Article
Full-text available
We measured total selenium and total mercury concentrations ([TSe] and [THg]) in hair (n=138) and blood (n=73) of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) from California to assess variation by geography and sex, and inferred feeding relationships based on carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur stable isotopes. Harbor seals from Hg-contaminated sites had significantly...
Article
On 16 June 1979, a herd of 41 sperm whales stranded near the mouth of the Siuslaw River in Florence, Oregon. The stomach contents from 32 whales were collected, identified to the lowest taxonomic level possible, enumerated, and measured. A total of 20,247 cephalopod lower beaks that represented 24 species from 14 different families were recovered....
Article
Skin biopsies were collected from free-ranging harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) from central California (n = 53). Microscopic examination of hematoxylin and eosin-stained tissue sections revealed the presence of tightly coiled nematode larvae within the ostia of numerous hair follicles of four seals. Parasites were characterized by paired la...
Article
Domoic acid (DA) is a potent neurotoxin that has caused strandings and mortality of seabirds and marine mammals off the California coast. Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardii) are an abundant, nearshore species in California; however, DA exposure and toxicosis have not been documented for harbor seals in this region. To investigate DA exp...
Article
Hair is used to determine trace elements exposure and status of pinnipeds because it is an excretory route for many elements and can be collected non-lethally. Despite increased use, there have been few studies on how sampling designs and procedures (e.g., hair type, collection site) affect results. The objective of this study was to determine whet...
Article
San Francisco Bay (SFB) is the largest estuary on the west coast of the United States. It provides habitat for many species, although is heavily urbanized with a history of selenium (Se) and mercury (Hg) contamination. Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are good indicators of the health of SFB because they are long–lived, upper–level trophic consumers,...

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