My background is in animal behaviour (Psychology BSc. Hons.) and marine mammal biology (Marine Mammal Science MSc.). My PhD research is a collaborative project investigating predator-prey interactions of killer whales and seals in coastal Scotland, utilizing a variety of dataset including citizen science (sightings, images, drone footage), acoustic monitoring, seal telemetry, and seal population data.
Killer whale predation of harbour seals in the coastal waters of Scotland: investigating the ecological drivers and consequences of an apex predator-prey interaction
The overarching aims of my PhD are to 1) quantify the extent to which killer whales predate harbour vs. grey seals in coastal Scotland, 2) understand the non-consumptive (e.g. behavioural) impacts of killer whale predation risk on seal species and 3) investigate whether killer whale predation may be contributing to regional declines in harbour seal populations.
- Provide age- and stage-specific estimates of harbour and grey seal consumption by killer whales in coastal Scotland.
- Quantify the spatial and temporal variation of seal predation in coastal Scotland.
- Characterise the underwater predator-prey soundscape of killer whales and seals.
- Investigate anti-predator strategies of harbour and grey seals to understand species-specific sensitivity to killer whale predation.
- Characterise the foraging strategy of seal-hunting killer whales in Scotland.
- Estimate the likely level of killer whale predation vs. the required level of predation to contribute to regional declines observed in harbour seal population.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/jcqsutherland
- EcoPredS project website: https://ecopreds.com/
- April 2021: Won a MASTS Marine Technology and Technical Innovation funding award for purchase of DJI Mavic Pro Drone