new technologies

steller sea lion at open water research station

Technological advancements are needed to answer research questions about what marine mammals are easting, how much they consume, where they find their food, and the energetic cost of obtaining it.

The highly trained northern fur seals and Steller sea lions at the Vancouver Aquarium and the Open Water Research Station are helping to develop and test new ways to collect and analyze data in the wild.

To date, the trained marine mammals have contributed to evaluating the use of accelerometers to detect prey capture attempts, and the use of heart rate to measure energy expenditure.  They have also taken part in studies to assess whether hormones in feces can be used as measures of population stress, and to find more accurate ways to describe diets from prey DNA and the recovery of fish bones in feces.  Results from these and other studies are being applied in the wild.

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New Technologies
  • Trained Steller sea lions test hypotheses and develop new approaches
Nutritional Stress?
Why did they decline?
We undertake studies to test the leading hypotheses thought to explain the decline of Steller sea lions.
Sea lion biology and ecology
Information about the ecology, biology, physiology, behaviour and population dynamics of sea lions is needed to resolve why sea lions have declined.