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Nicole Teutschel’s research interests include predator dynamics, trophic linkages, and the relationship marine predators have within the pelagic food web. Nicole plans to combine telemetry and physiological tools to access how prey resources effect trophic interactions, distribution, and how this data can be applied to conservation.
Nicole has been a part of the tagging effort of northern elephant seals, Mirounga angustirostris, at Año Nuevo State Reserve since 2006. Her masters research addresses the high mortality rate of young northern elephant seals, and how this trend relates to early diet. Northern elephant seal, pups are weaned after only 27 days and must learn to forage on their own, and as a result only 40% of weanlings survive to adulthood. To assess diet during this crucial transition to independence, Nicole is examining carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope values along the length of vibrissae (whiskers) of young elephant seals. Her masters research indicates that stable isotopes are a viable method by which to examine the dietary development of young predators and to better understand what constitutes a successful transition to independence.
In addition to her masters work, Nicole has been involved in outreach projects on TOPP.org. This year Nicole organized and implemented Elephant Seal Homecoming Days, a multimedia outreach campaign on showcasing TOPP elephant seal research online using blogging, video, social media, and live online tracking data. Media coverage included: NBC Nightly News, multiple Associated Press releases, local print, Ocean in Google Earth, The Colbert Report and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
Currently Nicole am continuing fieldwork at Año Nuevo and working on outreach for TOPP.
- Education and Outreach Coordinator for Social Media, Pinnipeds & Graduate Student
- University of California Santa Cruz, Tagging of Pacific Predators