University of St Andrews
 
 

Dr Sascha Hooker
Reader

Scottish Oceans Institute
East Sands
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
Fife
KY16 8LB
UK

My research concerns specifically the foraging and diving behaviour of marine predators and more generally how this can inform conservation planning in the ocean.

Current Projects

Marine predator foraging ecology

Work on predator foraging often relies on inference from dive profiles. Using a miniature video camera attached to the animal we can view the foraging space of a diving animal and test previously used proxies for foraging behaviour. The identification of foraging areas and assessment of the stability of these over time and space enable us to investigate variability in foraging success and the criteria driving this (whether anthropogenically or environmentally induced).

Diving physiology

The mechanisms allowing marine mammals to avoid problems associated with diving to depth are still only partially understood. Recent deaths of beaked whales associated with sonar exposure appear to be due to decompression sickness. I am interested in how problems such as shallow-water blackout and decompression sickness are avoided, and use modelling approaches to determine risk based on dive profiles.

Conservation planning and marine protected areas

An ecosystem-approach is widely advocated in conservation planning but ecosystem modelling approaches, despite their sophistication, often suffer from a lack of source data or inherent uncertainties. An alternative is to use spatially explicit management. I am interested in the application of such marine reserve areas to higher predators.

 

Publications

Aguilar De Soto, N, Gkikopoulou, K, Hooker, S, Isojunno, S, Johnson, M, Miller, P, Tyack, P, Wensveen, P, Donovan, C, Harris, CM, Harris, D, Marshall, L, Oedekoven, C, Prieto, R & Thomas, L 2016, 'From physiology to policy: a review of physiological noise effects on marine fauna with implications for mitigation' Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, vol 27, no. 1, 040008. DOI: 10.1121/2.0000299
Hooker, SK 2016, Toothed whales. in Encyclopedia of marine mammals. 3rd edn, Elsevier.
Hooker, SK, Barychka, T, Jessopp, MJ & Staniland, IJ 2015, 'Images as proximity sensors: the incidence of conspecific foraging in Antarctic fur seals' Animal Biotelemetry, vol 3, 37. DOI: 10.1186/s40317-015-0083-2
Miller, P, Kvadsheim, PH, Lam, FPA, Tyack, PL, Curé, C, De Ruiter, SL, Kleivane, L, Sivle, LD, van IJsselmuide, SP, Visser, F, Wensveen, PJ, von Benda-Beckmann, AM, Martin Lopez, LM, Narazaki, T & Hooker, SK 2015, 'First indications that northern bottlenose whales are sensitive to behavioural disturbance from anthropogenic noise' Royal Society Open Science, vol 2, 140484. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.140484
Hooker, SK 2015, Marine mammals: sperm whales and beaked whales. in Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.09499-9
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