Dr. Jennifer Burns' research focuses on understanding how the age and physiological status of juvenile marine mammals influences their diving and foraging capacities, and on how differences in rates of physiological development impact life history traits. Burns currently has an active research program focused on understanding whether the rate and extent of neonatal physiological development is closely correlated with the onset of independent foraging. For all marine mammals, the ability to remain submerged for long periods of time is largely dependent on two parameters: the amount of oxygen that can be carried to depth, and the rate at which it is used. However, Burns' research has suggested that juvenile behaviors are constrained as a result of higher oxygen use rates, smaller reserves, and reduced body size, and that these constraints likely impact growth and survival. In her research, Burns uses a wide variety of analytical tools including computerized dive recorders, satellite telemetry and GIS techniques, as well as several more hands-on techniques such as measuring heart rate and respiration patterns, energy use, and animal condition and health status.
Foraging ecology of Antarctic pinnipeds
The role of physiological constraint in the acquisition of foraging ability: development of diving capacity and behavior in young harp and hooded seals
The development of diving capacity and behavior in Steller sea lions in Alaska: exploring how behavior and physiology interact in an altricial otariid
Lake Iliamna freshwater seal studies
Weddell Seal Research
US Southern Ocean Global Ocean Ecosystem Dynamics (GLOBEC) study
Multibeam Sonar to Study Predation by Marine Mammals / Multibeam Animal Tracking System (MATS)