Nicole M. Thometz, PhD
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
University of California, Santa Cruz
Ph.D. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of California, Santa Cruz, 2014
B.S. Biology, University of Portland, 2008
My interests span both physiology and ecology and include understanding how physiological capacities impact the behavior and ecology of top predators. My research combines life-stage specific physiological, behavioral, and ecological data to examine the ability of individuals to forage within their environment and to assess proximity of individuals to physiological limits. Ultimately, these types of data can be used to better understand population level trends as well as inform predictions regarding if and how species will be able to respond to future environmental change and/or anthropogenic disturbance. For my dissertation, I examined the ontogeny of metabolic demands and diving ability in the southern sea otter and published the first estimate of the energetic cost of pup rearing in this species. Following completion of my PhD I continued my research on southern sea otters by examining lactation energetics and resulting impacts on adult females. Current research projects include: determining age-specific energetic requirements and diving capacities of the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, examining the biochemical properties of cetacean vocal musculature, and assessing energetic demands and physiological thresholds in a number of ice-obligate (ringed & bearded seals) and ice-associated (spotted seals) Arctic seal species.