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John Jansen


Research Biologist


Marine Mammal Laboratory





Marine Mammal Laboratory
Alaska Fisheries Science Center/NOAA
7600 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115-6349

Current Activities

John Jansen is a wildlife biologist with the Polar Ecosystems Program at the Marine Mammal Laboratory. John’s primary interests are in behavioral and physiological ecology, and how top predators adapt to changing and challenging environments, particularly when balancing the demands of offspring. John is lead on a project examining the ecology of ice-hauling harbor seals, and the impacts of disturbance by tour vessels. These studies have involved measuring the reaction of seals to ships, mapping possible shifts in seal distribution and abundance, and modeling the energetic consequences to seals. John’s research has led to new aerial methods for sampling seals using down-looking digital cameras in conjunction with spatial statistics to create “maps” of seals and ice. John has collaborated on similar studies on Arctic ice seals and has participated on numerous ship and land-based projects to capture seals to assess health, diet, and deploy tags to examine seal haul-out and movement patterns. A thread through John’s research has been to “tease out” the hard-wired constraints on an animal’s behavior (e.g., life-history traits and physiology) to better understand responses to external constraints of the environment.


John joined the National Marine Mammal Laboratory after working on a range of research projects: plant associations in the Rockies (as part of his undergraduate work at University of Colorado), wildlife in the Florida uplands, sharks in the coastal waters of the Pacific NW, and tuna in the South Pacific. He has since led research on penguins in the Southern Ocean and harbor seals in Alaska. He completed graduate work at University of Oregon studying foraging ecology of penguins. John has authored and co-authored papers and technical reports on penguin foraging and reproduction, spatio-temporal analyses of seal distribution, and anthropogenic effects on seals.

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