Dr. Amy Bishop
Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) in Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska. Harbor seals can be found along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska, out to the Aleutians and as far north as the Pribilof Islands. Though generally considered to be "not threatened", populations in some areas (e.g. the western Aleutian Islands), experienced dramatic declines in the 1970s-1980s.
Amy Bishop is a marine ecologist collaborating with the Alaska Native Harbor Seal Commission to revitalize the biosampling program in the Aleutians. This program involves training Native subsistence hunters to collect biological tissues and measurements from subsistence harvested harbor seals. This will provide information about the ecology and health of seals in the Aleutians, and also help assess the health and quality of resources Alaska Natives rely on for food, spiritual strength, and cultural tradition.
Her dissertation research focused on the behavioural ecology of mating systems, specifically the behavioural mechanisms of conflict and conflict reduction used by male grey seals in the United Kingdom. This work revealed how selection pressures drive behavioural and physiological responses to human-induced and natural disturbances. She also modeled the interplay between environmental and social-group characteristics in driving animal breeding strategies. For more information on her work, you can read past blog posts here.
Recently, she was part of a team which documented a rare behaviour for pinnipeds, and this finding has been highlighted by New Scientist.
Bishop A, Onoufriou J, Moss S, Pomeroy P, and Twiss SD. 2016. Cannibalism by a Male Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus) in the North Sea. Aquatic Mammals. 42: 137-143.
Bishop A, Pomeroy P, and Twiss, SD. 2015. Variability in individual rates of aggression in wild grey seals: Fine-scale analysis reveals importance of social and spatial stability. Behav. Eco and Socbio, 69: 1663-1675.
Bishop A, Pomeroy P, and Twiss, SD. 2015. Breeding male grey seals exhibit similar activity budgets across varying exposures to human activity. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 527:247-259.
Bishop A, Denton P, Pomeroy P, and Twiss SD. 2015. Good vibrations by the beach boys: Magnitude of substrate vibrations is a reliable indicator of male grey seal size. Animal Behaviour. 100:74-82.