Martin Tim Tinker

Martin Tim Tinker
University of California, Santa Cruz | UCSC · Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

PhD

About

153
Publications
56,740
Reads
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6,094
Citations
Additional affiliations
April 2008 - present
United States Geological Survey
Position
  • Research Ecologist
January 2008 - present
University of California, Santa Cruz
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2008 - June 2016
United States Geological Survey
Position
  • Research Biologist

Publications

Publications (153)
Article
Although southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) are not considered prey for white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), sharks do nonetheless bite sea otters. We analyzed spatial and temporal trends in shark bites on sea otters in California, assessing the frequency of shark bite wounds in 1,870 carcasses collected since 1985. The proportion of str...
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A fundamental goal of the study of ecology is to determine the drivers of habitat-forming vegetation, with much emphasis given to the relative importance to vegetation of "bottom-up" forces such as the role of nutrients and "top-down" forces such as the influence of herbivores and their predators. For coastal vegetation (e.g., kelp, seagrass, marsh...
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Ecology Letters (2012) 15: 475–483 Studies of consumer-resource interactions suggest that individual diet specialisation is empirically widespread and theoretically important to the organisation and dynamics of populations and communities. We used weighted networks to analyze the resource use by sea otters, testing three alternative models for how...
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How best to predict the effects of perturbations to ecological communities has been a long-standing goal for both applied and basic ecology. This quest has recently been revived by new empirical data, new analysis methods, and increased computing speed, with the promise that ecologically important insights may be obtainable from a limited knowledge...
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Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) have the highest mass-specific metabolic rate of any marine mammal, which is superimposed on the inherently high costs of reproduction and lactation in adult females. These combined energetic demands have been implicated in the poor body condition and increased mortality of female sea otters nearing the end of lactation...
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Understanding the role of animal behaviour in linking individuals to ecosystems is central to advancing knowledge surrounding community structure, stability and transition dynamics. Using 22 years of long-term subtidal monitoring, we show that an abrupt outbreak of purple sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus), which occurred in 2014 in southe...
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Sea otters (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) historically occurred in Washington State, USA, until their local extinction in the early 1900s as a result of the maritime fur trade. Following their extirpation, 59 sea otters were translocated from Amchitka Island, Alaska, USA, to the coast of Washington, with 29 released at Point Grenville in 1969 and 30 rele...
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The southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) is a threatened sub‐species in coastal ecosystems. To understand better the role of diet, monitor health, and enhance management of this and other marine mammal species, we characterized the oral (gingival) and distal gut (rectal and fecal) microbiota of 158 wild southern sea otters living off the coas...
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Humans were considered external drivers in much foundational ecological research. A recognition that humans are embedded in the complex interaction networks we study can provide new insight into our ecological paradigms. Here, we use time-series data spanning three decades to explore the effects of human harvesting on otter–urchin–kelp trophic casc...
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The seabird meta-population viability model (mPVA) uses a generalized approach to project abundance and quasi-extinction risk for 102 seabird species under various conservation scenarios. The mPVA is a stage-structured projection matrix that tracks abundance of multiple populations linked by dispersal, accounting for breeding island characteristics...
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Southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) population recovery is influenced by a variety of factors, including predation, biotoxin exposure, infectious disease, oil spills, habitat degradation, and resource limitation. This population has also experienced a significant genetic bottleneck, resulting in low genetic diversity. We investigated how two...
Article
The importance of disturbance Work in sea otters over the last few decades has transformed our understanding of the importance of specific species, or keystones, as drivers of community structure and stability. Foster et al . took the next step and tested whether otter foraging might influence genetic diversity in an eelgrass ecosystem (see the Per...
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Sea otters, Enhydra lutris, were once abundant along the nearshore areas of the North Pacific. The international maritime fur trade that ended in 1911 left 13 small remnant populations with low genetic diversity. Subsequent translocations into previously occupied habitat resulted in several reintroduced populations along the coast of North America....
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Significance Ecological processes that enhance or dampen the likelihood of shifts between top-down (i.e., predator-driven) and bottom-up (i.e., resource-driven) forcing underpin community regulation, functioning, and stability. Here, we demonstrate how the behavioral response of an apex predator to changes in prey behavior and condition (i.e., ener...
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The recovery of large carnivore species from over‐exploitation can have socioecological effects; thus, reliable estimates of potential abundance and distribution represent a valuable tool for developing management objectives and recovery criteria. For sea otters (Enhydra lutris), as with many apex predators, equilibrium abundance is not constant ac...
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Harmful algal blooms produce toxins that bioaccumulate in the food web and adversely affect humans, animals, and entire marine ecosystems. Blooms of the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia can produce domoic acid (DA), a toxin that most commonly causes neurological disease in endothermic animals, with cardiovascular effects that were first recognized in southe...
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Protective legislation and management have led to an increase in California’s sea otter Enhydra lutris nereis population. While sea otter recovery has been linked to ecosystem benefits, sea otter predation may negatively affect commercially valuable species. Understanding the potential influence of sea otters is of particular importance as their ra...
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Predator loss and climate change are hallmarks of the Anthropocene yet their interactive effects are largely unknown. Here, we show that massive calcareous reefs, built slowly by the alga Clathromorphum nereostratum over centuries to millennia, are now declining because of the emerging interplay between these two processes. Such reefs, the structur...
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Reliable age estimation is an essential tool to assess the status of wildlife populations and inform successful management. Aging methods, however, are often limited by too few data, skewed demographic representation, and by single or uncertain morphometric relationships. In this study, we synthesize age estimates in southern sea otters Enhydra lut...
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The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a marine mammal hunted to near extinction during the 1800s. Despite their well‐known modern importance as a keystone species, we know little about historical sea otter ecology. Here, we characterize the ecological niche of ancient southern sea otters (E. lutris nereis) using δ13C analysis and δ15N analysis of bones...
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Sarcocystis neurona was recognised as an important cause of mortality in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) after an outbreak in April 2004 and has since been detected in many marine mammal species in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. Risk of S. neurona exposure in sea otters is associated with consumption of clams and soft-sediment prey and is...
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Recovering species are often limited to much smaller areas than they historically occupied. Conservation planning for the recovering species is often based on this limited range, which may simply be an artifact of where the surviving population persisted. Southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis) were hunted nearly to extinction but recovered fro...
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To better understand the spatial context of population dynamics of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in Southeast Alaska (SEAK), we investigated the spatial and temporal patterns of subsistence sea otter harvest and assessed the effect of harvest on population growth. U.S. federal law permits subsistence harvest of sea otters and sale of clothing and han...
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Translocation and rehabilitation programmes are critical tools for wildlife conservation. These methods achieve greater impact when integrated in a combined strategy for enhancing population or ecosystem restoration. During 2002–2016 we reared 37 orphaned southern sea otter Enhydra lutris nereis pups, using captive sea otters as surrogate mothers,...
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Sea otter populations in Southeast Alaska, USA, have increased dramatically from just over 400 translocated animals in the late 1960s to >8,000 by 2003. The recovery of sea otters to ecosystems from which they had been absent has affected coastal food webs, including commercially important fisheries, and thus information on expected growth and equi...
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Despite its recent invasion into the marine realm, the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) has evolved a suite of adaptations for life in cold coastal waters, including limb modifications and dense insulating fur. This uniquely dense coat led to the near-extinction of sea otters during the 18th-20th century fur trade and an extreme population bottleneck. We...
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Wild sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are the only marine mammals that habitually use stones while foraging, using them to break open hard-shelled foods like marine snails and bivalves. However, the physical effects of this behavior on local environments are unknown. We show that sea otters pounding mussels on tidally emergent rocks leave distinct mater...
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Habitat characteristics are primary determinants of nearshore marine communities. However, biological drivers like predation can also be important for community composition. Sea otters (Enhydra lutris ssp.) are a salient example of a keystone species exerting top‐down control on ecosystem community structure. The translocation and subsequent popula...
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Predators exert strong effects on ecological communities, particularly when they re‐occupy areas after decades of extirpation. Within species, such effects can vary over time and by sex and cascade across trophic levels. We used a space‐for‐time substitution to make foraging observations of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) across a gradient of reoccupat...
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Sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are marine predators that forage on a wide array of cryptic, benthic invertebrates. Observational studies and anatomical investigations of the sea otter somatosensory cortex suggest that touch is an important sense for detecting and capturing prey. Sea otters have two well-developed tactile structures: front paws and fac...
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While changes in the abundance of keystone predators can have cascading effects resulting in regime shifts, the role of mesopredators in these processes remains underexplored. We conducted annual surveys of rocky reef communities that varied in the recovery of a keystone predator (sea otter, Enhydra lutris) and the mass mortality of a mesopredator...
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Pathogens entering the marine environment as pollutants exhibit a spatial signature driven by their transport mechanisms. The sea otter (Enhydra lutris), a marine animal which lives much of its life within sight of land, presents a unique opportunity to understand land–sea pathogen transmission. Using a dataset on Toxoplasma gondii prevalence acros...
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Lactation is the most energetically demanding stage of reproduction in female mammals. Increased energetic allocation toward current reproduction may result in fitness costs, although the mechanisms underlying these trade‐offs are not well understood. Trade‐offs during lactation may include reduced energetic allocation to cellular maintenance, immu...
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Humans have decimated populations of large-bodied consumers and their functions in most of the world's ecosystems. It is less clear how human activities have affected the diversity of habitats these consumers occupy. Rebounding populations of some predators after conservation provides an opportunity to begin to investigate this question. Recent res...
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Conservation genetic techniques and considerations of the evolutionary potential of a species are increasingly being applied to species conservation. For example, effective population size (Ne) estimates are useful for determining the conservation status of species, yet accurate estimates of current Ne remain difficult to obtain. The effective popu...
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Kelp forest communities are highly variable over space and time. Despite this complexity it has been suggested that kelp forest communities can be classified into one of 2 states: kelp dominated or sea urchin dominated. It has been further hypothesized that these represent "alternate stable states" because a site can remain in either of these state...
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Despite more than a century of federal protection, the California sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) remains threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the population has not appreciably expanded its range in two decades. Here, we examine a novel dataset of 725 sea otter live strandings from 1984–2015 to gain insights into demograph...
Chapter
Sea otters are the only fully marine-living mustelid and the smallest extant marine mammal. They have the highest mass-specific metabolic rate of any marine mammal, which coupled with the lack of blubber for insulator and energy storage, relegates them to operating as an extreme income strategist, and appears to have led to a life history tactic in...
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Comparing sea otter recovery in California (CA) and British Columbia (BC) reveals key ecosystem properties that shape top-down effects in seagrass communities. We review potential ecosystem drivers of sea otter foraging in CA and BC seagrass beds, including the role of coastline complexity and environmental stress on sea otter effects. In BC, we fi...
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Sea otters are well-known tool users, employing objects such as rocks or shells to break open invertebrate prey. We used a series of generalized linear mixed effect models to examine observational data on prey capture and tool use from 211 tagged individuals from 5 geographically defined study areas throughout the sea otter's range in California. O...
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Many ecological aspects of tool-use in sea otters are similar to those in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. Within an area, most tool-using dolphins share a single mitochondrial haplotype and are more related to each other than to the population as a whole. We asked whether sea otters in California showed similar genetic patterns by sequencing mito...
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Weaning represents a major ontogenetic dietary shift in southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis), as juveniles must transition from depending on mother’s milk to independently processing hard-shelled invertebrates. When the skulls of juveniles have reached sufficient maturity to transition to a durophagous diet remains to be investigated. Here,...
Chapter
This chapter examines the complexities of assessing the merits and drawbacks of wildlife rehabilitation. Wildlife rehabilitation is often costly, and the resulting benefits differ depending on whether one’s interest is in the welfare of individual animals or conserving populations. Two examples of this dilemma include the rehabilitation of oiled se...