Sam L Cox

Sam L Cox
University College Cork | UCC · MarREI

PhD Marine Science

About

21
Publications
4,554
Reads
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398
Citations
Additional affiliations
April 2020 - present
University College Cork
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Investigating behaviour, fisheries interactions and habitat use in rehabilitated harbour seals, as part of the EU INTERREG project, SeaMonitor.
February 2018 - February 2020
Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and Institute of Research for Development (IRD)
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Investigating use of satellite remote sensing and telemetry for characterising and investigating marine habitats & niche use by seabirds across the tropical Atlantic
May 2016 - January 2018
French National Centre for Scientific Research
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • Investigating the diving and foraging behaviours of juvenile southern elephant seals in relation to survival
Education
October 2011 - September 2015
University of Plymouth
Field of study
  • The role of physical oceanography on the distributions and foraging behaviours of marine mammals and seabirds in shelf seas
September 2010 - August 2011
University of Aberdeen
Field of study
  • Applied marine and fisheries ecology
September 2004 - June 2008
University of Aberdeen
Field of study
  • Marine biology

Publications

Publications (21)
Article
Full-text available
Sex-specific niche differentiation is common in marine vertebrates, but how this varies long-term is poorly understood. Here we investigated interannual variation in sexual segregation among breeding northern gannets Morus bassanus, wide-ranging central-place foragers with slight sexual dimorphism. Over 11 breeding seasons, we used GPS tracking and...
Article
Full-text available
• High juvenile mortality rates are typical of many long‐lived marine vertebrate predators. Insufficient development in dive and forage ability is considered a key driver of this. However, direct links to survival outcome are sparse, particularly in free‐ranging marine animals that may not return to land. • In this study, we conduct exploratory inv...
Article
Full-text available
Dive data collected from archival and satellite tags can provide valuable information on foraging activity via the characterisation of movement patterns (e.g. wiggles, hunting time). However, a lack of validation limits interpretation of what these metrics truly represent in terms of behaviour and how predators interact with prey. Head-mounted acce...
Article
Full-text available
Ontogeny of diving and foraging behavior in marine top predators is poorly understood despite its importance in population recruitment. This lack of knowledge is partly due to the difficulties of monitoring juveniles in the wild, which is linked to high mortality early in life. Pinnipeds are good models for studying the development of foraging beha...
Article
Mid-latitude (∼30-60°) seasonally stratifying shelf-seas support a high abundance and diversity of marine predators such as marine mammals and seabirds. However, anthropogenic activities and climate change impacts are driving changes in the distributions and population dynamics of these animals, with negative consequences for ecosystem functioning....
Article
Full-text available
In order to survive and later recruit into a population, juvenile animals need to acquire resources through the use of innate and/or learnt behaviors in an environment new to them. For far-ranging marine species, such as the wandering albatross Diomedea exulans, this is particularly challenging as individuals need to be able to rapidly adapt and op...
Article
Biologging technologies are changing the way in which the marine environment is observed and monitored. However, because device retrieval is typically required to access the high‐resolution data they collect, their use is generally restricted to those animals that predictably return to land. Data abstraction and transmission techniques aim to addre...
Article
Full-text available
Assessing energy gain and expenditure in free ranging marine predators is difficult. However, such measurements are critical if we are to understand how variation in foraging efficiency, and in turn individual body condition, is impacted by environmentally driven changes in prey abundance and/or accessibility. To investigate the influence of oceano...
Article
Full-text available
Oceanic fronts are key habitats for a diverse range of marine predators, yet how they influence fine-scale foraging behaviour is poorly understood. Here, we investigated the dive behaviour of northern gannets Morus bassanus in relation to shelf-sea fronts. We GPS (global positioning system) tracked 53 breeding birds and examined the relationship be...
Article
Full-text available
Shelf-seas are highly dynamic and oceanographically complex environments, which likely influences the spatio-temporal distributions of marine megafauna such as marine mammals. As such, understanding natural patterns in habitat use by these animals is essential when attempting to ascertain and assess the impacts of anthropogenically induced disturba...
Article
Full-text available
Capsule: Three quarters of tracked Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) at Grassholm gathered in rafts around the colony, concentrated within a recently designated at-sea Special Protection Area (SPA), but rafting was not correlated with foraging effort. Aims: To investigate the incidence, distribution and foraging implications of Northern Gannet raft...
Article
Full-text available
To gain further insight into the foraging behaviour of predator species, it is essential that interactions between predators, their prey and the surrounding environment are better understood. The primary purpose of this study was to determine the underlying processes, both physical and biological, driving variation in the times and locations of sea...
Article
Full-text available
Commercial capture fisheries produce huge quantities of offal, as well as undersized and unwanted catch in the form of discards. Declines in global catches and legislation to ban discarding will significantly reduce discards, but this subsidy supports a large scavenger community. Understanding the potential impact of declining discards for scavenge...
Data
GPS tracks showing foraging trips of all chick-rearing northern gannets fitted with bird-borne digital cameras from Grassholm, Wales 2011. Open circles show ARS zones, closed circles the location of fishing vessels photographed by each bird and arrows show the direction of flight. (DOCX)

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
The aim of EARLYLIFE was to obtain information on juvenile stages in a variety of marine predators, seabirds and seals, a period where mortality is supposed to be high because young animals have to learn to survive by their own in the marine environment. Because foraging performances constitute the link between resources in the environment and survival, being able to track these young animals was central to explain their ability or not to survive during the early stage. During the first 3 years, with some complementary field work during the 4th and 5th years of the program we used the latest miniaturized telemetry and bio-logging technologies to track the movements and behavior of more than 450 individuals belonging to 15 species in a diverse range of habitats, from the Antarctic, sub-Antarctic, tropics to the Arctic. This first phase of the project has produced groundbreaking new information on foraging skills (movements, behaviour, diet) and fate of juveniles of the different species with contrasted life-history traits. A general, unexpected, pattern has emerged, a part from one species, in all other species mortality occurred after the first two months at sea when it was supposed to be the major selection period, and this was independent of the habitat or the taxonomic group. Only in one species, Barau’s petrel we found that mortality was due to a lack of waterproofness of the plumage in half of the individuals, a cause of mortality that was not known (Weimerskirch et al. submitted). The first two months appeared as the critical period for all marine predators, with a rapid improvement in flight and diving capabilities of individuals (De grissac et al 2016 Sc Report, Mendez et al 2017 Sc Report, Orgeret al 2016 Biol Letter). However we found that diving animals such as penguins face a strong energetic challenge during the first months at sea, not related to diving capacities, but to heat loss, because of a reduction in insulation due to a loss of sub-cutaneous fats (Enstipp et al 2017 J Exp Biol). During this critical phase, animals dispersed generally outside the range of adults. This wide ranging behavior was made possible because juveniles have acquired movement capacities equivalent to those of adults only a few months after independence (de Grissac et al 2017 Ecol & Evolution). The extreme case was found in great frigatebirds that have acquired within weeks the ability of staying in flight continuously for more than 2 months and disperse over entire oceanic basin (Weimerskirch et al 2016 Science). During the first year of independence, and the following years of immaturity, biochemical markers indicate that juveniles show a progressive shift in diet preferences (Kernaleguen et al 2016 Sc. Report, Carraveri et al 2017 Interface J). Adding demographic analyses allowed us to show that the survival of juveniles after independence was affected by the climatic conditions (sea-surface temperatures in particular) encountered by the parents when provisioning the offspring (Fay et al 2015 J Anim Ecol), and that in some species of birds, the ability of the father disproportionately influenced the survival of the offspring, compared to female parents (Cornioley et al 2017 Proc R Soc). Thus the initial conditions encountered by juvenile individuals before independence, due to the parental quality and genotypes, and the environmental conditions encountered during the juvenile phase affect the mortality rates and timing of mortality. It was possible to obtain this major result because with EARLYLIFE we were able to combine a huge data set on the foraging behavior of juveniles belonging to a variety of species with demographic parameters to understand long term trajectories of populations (Weimerskirch J Anim 2018). Overall our program has allowed us to show that as predicted the juvenile period is a period of improvement of foraging skills (in terms of search efficiency, habitat and prey selection, or energy expenditure), but we found that the rate of improvement was independent of the foraging mode or age of maturity. EARLYLIFE has so far being able to make major break-through in behavioural ecology and eco-evolutionary biology. We are now in apposition to model the effects of environmental conditions and future climate change on juvenile survival and its overall importance for population dynamics. This phase is presently in progress. In addition to the already 22 published papers, 6 are submitted, many are in preparation and I will work on several synthesis papers including all participants of the program on the main conclusions of Earlylife.