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Ladd Irvine


Title:

Senior Faculty Research Assistant

Contact:

Phone:  (541) 867-0394
ladd.irvine@oregonstate.edu

Responsibilities:

Lead field expeditions lasting up to 6 weeks to conduct satellite-monitored radio tagging of large whales. Field duties include tag deployment, small boat handling, planning search areas/strategy, coordinating pre-and post-cruise logistics. 
Assist with the development and testing of new satellite tag designs.
Analyze tracking and dive behavior data from tagged whales. 
Present the results of tracking studies in both written (peer-reviewed journal or reports) and oral (presentations at scientific meetings) forms.

Educational Background:

M.Sc. Biological Oceanography, Oregon State University, 2008
B.S. Biology, University of Puget Sound

Professional Preparation

Graduate Research Assistant, Marine Mammal Institute, 2004–2007
Intern and research technician, Marine Mammal Program, 1999–2004

Research Interests/Area of Expertise:

My current research interests include characterizing the distribution and seasonal occurrence of satellite-tagged whales and identifying heavily used areas. This type of information can then be combined with remotely sensed environmental data like sea surface temperature and chlorophyll concentration to model habitat preferences of the whales. This type of information can be used to help predict where whales might occur, which would be a valuable resource for people trying to help endangered populations recover. 

I am also interested in studying the diving behavior of whales using time depth recorders. The fact that whales spend so much time underwater prevents us from using one of the most basic research methods available to scientists: observation. Time depth recorders allow us to monitor the whales as they dive, allowing us to answer basic questions like how long/deep/frequently do whales dive and also see how their diving behavior changes over time, and as they move. This information allows us to identify different behaviors like foraging or searching/traveling and use that information to identify important habitat for the whales.