Fredrik Christiansen PhD

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Postdoctoral Researcher

Most of my past and current research focuses on assessing anthropogenic impacts on marine mammals, in particular baleen whales. I am interested in how behavioural changes, caused by human disturbance can influence population dynamics by affecting individual survival and reproduction. Further, I’m interested in how such non-lethal effects can be incorporated into existing management frameworks to aid in conservation. To understand the relationship between behaviour and population dynamics, I have worked in a number of research areas, including behavioural ecology, physiology, bioenergetics and reproductive biology. Apart from whales, I have also done research on sea turtles (movement ecology), sharks (attacks rates), snakes (morphometrics and reproduction) and invertebrates. I have a strong interest in ecological modelling and statistics, in particular time series analyses, spatial analyses, and individual based models.

2015 – ongoing: Research Fellow, Cetacean Research Unit, Murdoch University, Australia
2013-2015: Research Fellow, Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Australia
2013: Doctor of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen, UK
2008: Master of Science in Biology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
2008: Bachelor of Science in Biology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


  • Baylis A.M.M., Orben, R.A., Christiansen, F., Arnould, J.P.Y., Hays, G.C. & Staniland, I.J. In press. Disentangling the cause of a catastrophic population decline in a large marine mammal. Ecology.
  • Catalina Monzón-Argüello, C., Patiño-Martínez, C., Christiansen, F., Gallo-Barneto, R., Cabrera-Pérez, M., Peña-Estévez, M., López-Jurado, L. & Lee, P. 2015. Snakes on an island: environment and history as determinants of life history divergence in introduced populations. Conservation Genetics. doi:10.1007/s10592-015-0734-0.
  • Christiansen, F., Bertulli, C.G., Rasmussen, M. & Lusseau, D. 2015. Estimating cumulative exposure of wildlife to non-lethal disturbance using spatially explicit capture-recapture models. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 79: 311-324.
  • Christiansen, F. & Lusseau, D. 2015. Linking behaviour to vital rates to measure the effects of non-lethal disturbance on wildlife. Conservation letters. doi: 10.1111/conl.12166.
  • Jalali, M.A., Ierodiaconou, D., Gorfine, H., Christiansen, F. & Young, M. In press. Spatial abundance patterns and recruitment of a virus affected commercial mollusc fishery. Fisheries Management and Ecology.
  • Christiansen, F., Lynas, N.M., Lusseau, D. & Tscherter, U. 2015. Structure and dynamics of minke whale surfacing patterns in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada. PLoS One 10(5): e0126396. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126396.
  • Meissner, A.M., Christiansen, F., Martinez, E., Pawley, M.D.M., Orams, M.B., Stockin, K.A. 2015. Behavioural effects of tourism on oceanic common dolphins, Delphinus sp., in New Zealand: The effects of Markov Analysis variations and current tour operator compliance with regulations. PLoS ONE 10(1): e0116962. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116962•


Christiansen, F. & Lusseau, D. 2014. Understanding the ecological effects of whalewatching on cetaceans. In: Whale-Watching, Sustainable Tourism and Ecological Management (Eds: Higham, J., Bejder, L., Williams, R.) Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK.
Christiansen, F., Rasmussen, M. & Lusseau, D. 2014. Inferring energy expenditure from respiration rates in minke whales to measure the effects of whale watching boat interactions. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 459: 96-104.
Christiansen, F., Vikingsson, G.A., Rasmussen, M. & Lusseau, D. 2014. Female body condition affects foetal growth in a capital breeding mysticete. Functional Ecology 28: 579-588.

Christiansen, F., Rasmussen, M. & Lusseau, D. 2013. Inferring activity budgets in wild animals to estimate the consequences of disturbances. Behavioural Ecology 24: 1415-1425. doi: 10.1093/beheco/art086
Christiansen, F., Rasmussen, M. & Lusseau, D. 2013. Whalewatching boats disrupt the foraging activities of Minke whales in Faxaflói bay, Iceland. Marine Ecology Progress Series 478: 239-251.
Christiansen, F., Vikingsson, G.A., Rasmussen, M. & Lusseau, D. 2013. Minke whales maximise energy storage on their feeding grounds. Journal of Experimental Biology 216: 427-436.
• de Vos, A., Christiansen, F., Harcourt, R.G. & Pattiaratchi, C.B. 2013. Surfacing characteristics and diving behaviour of blue whales in Sri Lankan waters. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 449: 149-153.

Before 2013
Christiansen F, Lusseau D, Stensland E, Berggren P. 2010. Effects of tourist boats on the behaviour of Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins off the south coast of Zanzibar. Endangered Species Research 11:91-99

• Lusseau, D., Christiansen, F., Harwood, J., Mendes, S., Thompson, P.M., Smith, K., Hastie, G.D. 2012. Assessing the risks to marine mammal populations from renewable energy devices – an interim approach. Report to JNCC.
Christiansen, F., Rasmussen, M. & Lusseau, D. 2011. Inferring surface time of Minke whales from inter-surfacing interval data using a hidden Markov model. The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission, Tromsø, Norway, p. Document SC/63/RMP6
• de Vos, A., Christiansen, F., Pattiaratchi, C. & Harcourt, R. 2011. Submergence times and abundance estimation of blue whales off Sri Lanka. The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission, Tromsø, Norway, p. Document SC/63/WW7
• Lusseau, D., Williams, R., Bejder, L., Stockin, K. A., Bain, D. E., Auger-Méthé, M., Christiansen, F., Martinez, E., and Berggren, P. 2008. The resilience of animal behaviour to disturbance. The Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission, Santiago, Chile, p. Document SC/60/WW9

Prof. Graeme C. Hays, Deakin University, Australia
Prof. Peter T. Madsen. University of Aarhus, Denmark.
Assoc. Prof. Doug Nowacek, Duke University, USA
Dr. David Lusseau. University of Aberdeen, UK.
Dr. Marianne H. Rasmussen. University of Iceland, Iceland.
Dr. Gisli A. Vikingsson, Marine Research Institute, Iceland.
Dr. Per Berggren, Newcastle University, UK.
Fredrik Christiansen PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Cetacean Research Unit, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Murdoch University
South Street, Murdoch, 6150
Western Australia
Ph: +61 (0)417 502 098
Follow me on Twitter @FChristiansen83
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