Pinniped populations in South America, including the South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) and South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis), have largely recovered from centuries of commercial exploitation and culling. Now, however, these species are interacting more frequently with small-scale fisheries. These increased interactions have led to a resurgence of human–wildlife conflict, with negative impacts on both sea lion and seal populations and fisheries profits. In this research, the student will assess how fisheries pressure has combined with climate variability to impact the population dynamics of pinniped populations. The student will use existing pinniped census data, fisheries catch data, and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI)—which indicates the development and intensity of El Niño or La Niña events in the Pacific Ocean—to develop population projection models for pinniped species.
This research requires familiarity with basic coding, data wrangling, and linear models in R.
Familiarity with spatial data analysis and population projection models would also be desirable.
Maximum number of students: 1
If interested in this project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org