Dr Kylie Owen – Adjunct Lecturer

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Adjunct Lecturer - MUCRU

My research focuses on the foraging behaviour and migratory ecology of baleen whales. I am interested in the mechanisms that baleen whales use to find prey, and how environmental change may influence foraging success. Further, I am interested in the role that feeding during migration may play in the migratory strategy of baleen whales and their ability to meet annual energy requirements. I primarily rely on the use of biologging techniques, using digital tags to record whale movement and behaviour in relation to prey availability and environmental conditions. I have a strong interest in the use of state-space modelling and mixed modelling approaches to assist with understanding behavioural and ecological patterns. I have also been involved with the development of biologging devices for use on cetacean species.

2016 – ongoing: Adjunct Lecturer, Cetacean Research Unit, Murdoch University, Australia.

2015 – 2016: Research Technician III, Alaska SeaLife Center, USA.

2014: Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland, Australia.

2009: First Class Honours, Monash University, Australia.

2007: Bachelor of Science in Zoology and Marine Biology, The University of Melbourne, Australia.


  • Owen K, Jenner M, Jenner C, Andrews R (In review) A week in the life of a pygmy blue whale: swimming efficiently increases the risk of ship strike. Animal Biotelemetry.
  • Owen K, Kavanagh AS, Warren JD, Noad MJ, Donnelly D, Goldizen AW, Dunlop RA (2016) Potential energy gain by whales outside of the Antarctic: prey preferences and consumption rates of migrating humpback whales. Polar Biology. DOI 10.1007/s00300-016-1951-9
  • Owen K, Dunlop RA, Monty JP, Chung D, Noad MJ, Donnelly D, Goldizen AW, Mackenzie T (2016) Detecting surface-feeding behavior by rorqual whales in accelerometer data. Marine Mammal Science 32(1): 327-348.
  • Kavanagh AS, Owen K, Williamson MJ, Blomberg SP, Noad MJ, Goldizen AW, Kniest H, Cato DH, Dunlop RA (In Press) Evidence for the functions of surface-active behaviours in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae). Marine Mammal Science.
  • O’Brien K, Martín López LM, Owen K, Aoki K, Bivins M, Miller P, Narazaki T (In Press) Entanglements of Sowerby’s beaked whales on the Scotian Shelf. Canadian Naturalist.


  • Owen K, Warren JD, Noad MJ, Donnelly D, Goldizen AW, Dunlop RA (2015) Effect of prey type on the fine-scale feeding behaviour of migrating east Australian humpback whales. Marine Ecology Progress Series 541: 231-244.
  • Miller BS, Barlow J, Calderan S, Collins K, Leaper R, Olson P, Ensor P, Kelly N, Peel D, Donnelly D, Andrews-Goff V, Olavarria C, Owen K, Rekdahl M, Schmidt N, Wadley V, Gedamke J, Gales N, Double MC (2015) Validating the reliability of passive acoustic localisation: a novel method for encountering rare and remote Antarctic blue whales. Endangered Species Research 26: 257-269.

Prior to 2014

  • Owen K, Donnelly D (2014) The most southerly worldwide sightings of pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata). Marine Biological Records 7: e46.
  • Double MC, Barlow J, Miller BS, Olson P, Andrews-Goff V, Leaper R, Ensor P, Kelly N, Wadley V, Lindsay M, Peel D, Calderan S, Collins K, Davidson M, Deacon C, Donnelly D, Olavarria C, Owen K, Rekdahl M, Schmitt N, Gales N (2013) Cruise report of the 2013 Antarctic blue whales voyage of the Southern Ocean Research Partnership. Report to the International Whaling Commission. Report Number SC/65a/SH21
  • Owen K, Donnelly D, Dunlop R (2012) Seaweed Interactions by Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae): a Form of Object Play? Aquatic Mammals 38(4): 418-422.
  • Owen K, Charlton-Robb K, Thompson R (2011) Resolving the Trophic Relations of Cryptic Species: An Example Using Stable Isotope Analysis of Dolphin Teeth. PLoS ONE 6(2): e16457.
  • Charlton-Robb K, Gershwin L, Thompson R, Austin J, Owen K, McKechnie S (2011) A new species of dolphin, the Burrunan dolphin Tursiops australis sp. nov., endemic to southern Australian coastal waters. PLoS ONE 6(9): e24047.

Conference abstracts

  • Zitterbart DP, Bennett L, Burkhardt E, Cammareri A, Flau M, Kniest H, Lanfredi C, Owen K, Michel H, Noad M, Pacini A, Boebel O (2016) ETAW: Exploring the thermal and technological limits of automatic whale detection. Aquatic Noise Conference, Dublin, Ireland.
  • Owen K, Jenner CS, Jenner MN, McCauley RD, Andrews RD (2015) Environmental drivers of foraging behavior by individual humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) near the Antarctic ice edge. Society for Marine Mammalogy conference, San Francisco, USA.
  • Andrews RD, White J, Rumney J, Jenner C, Owen K, Birtles A (2015) The littlest minke makes a big voyage: dwarf minke whales travel from the northern Great Barrier Reef to the sub-Antarctic. Society for Marine Mammalogy conference, San Francisco, USA.
  • Andrews RD, George C, Jackson K, Martinez A, Owen K, Pitchford T, Zoodsma B (2015) Satellite tagging of North Atlantic right whales: Development and application of improved tag attachment methods. North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium Meeting, New Bedford, USA.
  • Warren JD, Parks SE, Pearson H, Owen K (2014) Follow the food: Effects of fish and zooplankton on the behavioral ecology of baleen whales. Acoustical Society of America Conference, Indianapolis, USA.
  • Owen K, Donnelly D, Goldizen A, Noad M, Warren J, Dunlop R (2013) Fast food not so appealing for migrating cetaceans? The impact of prey species and depth on migratory feeding behaviour. Society for Marine Mammalogy conference, Dunedin, New Zealand.
  • James A, Owen K, Dunlop R, Weeks S, Noad M (2013) Identifying key environmental conditions driving opportunistic feeding of migrating humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) off Eden, NSW, Australia. Society for Marine Mammalogy biannual conference, Dunedin, New Zealand.
  • Owen K, Noad M, Goldizen A, Dunlop R (2012) What drives migratory feeding and foraging in humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae)? Southern Ocean Research Partnership Living Whales in the Southern Ocean Symposium: Advances in methods for non-lethal cetacean research. Puerto Varas, Chile.
  • Owen K, Charlton-Robb K, Thompson R (2009) Foraging ecology and diet of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.) in coastal Victoria, Australia. Society for Marine Mammalogy biannual conference, Quebec City, Canada, October.
  • Charlton-Robb K, Gershwin L, Thompson R, Taylor A, Austin J, Owen K, McKechnie S (2011) Species status and population genetics of a new dolphin species, endemic to southern Australian coastal waters. Society for Marine Mammalogy biannual conference, Tampa, Florida.

A/Prof. Russel Andrews, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska SeaLife Center, USA.
Prof. Joseph Warren, Stony Brook University, USA.
Dr Daniel Zitterbart, Alfred Wegener Institute for Marine and Polar Research, Germany.
Mr David Donnelly, Australian Orca Database, Australia.

Kylie Owen, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Cetacean Ecology Research Australia
Ph: +61 (0)407 325 293

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