Shannon McCluskey

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PhD Candidate

General Research Interests

I am interested in the dynamic relationships between top-predators and the ecosystems which sustain them. Specifically, I am fascinated by the adaptations that predators employ under conditions of fluctuating prey abundance and availability. My goal is to participate in interdisciplinary research projects that have direct conservation application at the community level and beyond. .

Project Description

Murdoch University has initiated a long-term research project on the bottlenose dolphins that utilize the habitats around Koombana Bay, Bunbury Harbour, and the Leschenault Inlet. This research involves the collaboration of several PhD students, Honours Students, and numerous industry and non-profit interests. My project concerns the foraging ecology of this little studied population of dolphins. The aims of my project are to:

  • Characterise critical foraging habitat
  • Identify and quantify potential prey resources in foraging and non-foraging habitats across seasons through prey surveys
  • To assess diet of different age and sex classes through opportunistic stomach content and scat analysis
  • Investigate relationships between individual and cooperative foraging behaviours with available prey species across temporal and spatial scales
PhD candidate, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Dissertation Title: “Foraging Ecology of Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops spp.) in Koombana bay, Western Australia.” Murdoch University International Scholarship.

Master of Science, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA. 2006. Thesis Title: “Space Use Patterns and Population Trends of Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Relation to Distribution and Abundance of Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) in the Inland Marine Waters of Washington State and British Columbia.” Keeler Endowment for Excellence.

Batchelor of Arts, Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, USA. 1998 (Major: Biology Minor: Environmental Studies). Thesis Title: “Benthic Invertebrate Diversity and Abundance and Water Quality Assessment of Oriskany Creek.” Deans List: 1996, 1998

The University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. 1997.

The School for Field Studies, Centre for Coastal Studies, Bamfield, British Columbia, Canada. 1995. Directed Research Title: “Sockeye Salmon Spawning Habitat in Clemens Creek, British Columbia.”

Researcher, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia—6/07-present

Fisheries Biologist, Project GLOBAL, Duke University, Beaufort, North Carolina—10/06-5/07

Researcher, University of Washington, SAFS, Seattle, Washington—3/06-09/06

Contractor Biologist/ Research Assistant, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Seattle, Washington—9/02-3/06

Teaching Assistant, University of Washington, SAFS, Seattle, Washington—3/2005-6/2005

Contractor Biologist, National Marine Mammal Lab, NMFS, NOAA, Seattle, Washington—9/01-9/02

Volunteer and Intern, National Marine Mammal Lab, NMFS, NOAA, Seattle, Washington—10/00-10/01

Researcher, The Center for Whale Research, Friday Harbor, Washington—10/00-10/01

Naturalist, San Juan Excursions, Friday Harbor, Washington—4/00-10/00

Volunteer Crew, Soundwatch program, The Whale Museum, Friday Harbor, Washington—6/00-9/00

Naturalist Sea Kayak Guide, Outdoor Odysseys, Friday Harbor, Washington—7/99-9/99 and Crystal Seas, Snug Harbor, Washington—5/00-9/00

Marine Biology Instructor, Pacific Marine Research, Seattle, Washington—4/99-present

Assistant Fisheries Biologist, Western Fisheries Research Center, Biological Resources Division, United States Geological Survey (USGS), Seattle, Washington—7/98-10/98

Wrangler, Rock Springs Guest Ranch, Bend, Oregon—6/95-9/95

Memberships

Society of Marine Mammalogy
Ecological Society of America

Publications

McCluskey, S.M. and R.L. Lewison. 2008. Quantifying fishing effort: A synthesis of current methods and their applications. Fish and Fisheries. 9: 188-200

McCluskey, S.M. In Review. Killer Whale World Diet. Marine Mammal Science.

McCluskey, S.M., M.G. Logsdon, and G.R. VanBalricom. In Review. Changes in the Spatial Distributions of Southern Resident Killer Whales during Periods of Population Stress. Marine Ecology Progress Series.

Wade, P.R., L.G. Barrett-Lennard, N.A. Black, V.N. Burkanov, A.M. Burdin, J. Calambokidis, S. Cerchio, M.E. Dahlheim, J.K.B. Ford, N.A. Friday, L.W. Fritz, J.K. Jacobsen, T.R. Loughlin, C.O. Matkin, D.R. Matkin, S.M. McCluskey, A.V. Mehta, S.A. Mizroch, M.M. Muto, D.W. Rice, D. R.J. Small, J.M. Straley, G.R. VanBlaricom, and P.J. Clapham. 2007. Killer Whales and Marine Mammal Trends in the North Pacific – a Re-Examination of Evidence for Sequential Megafaunal Collapse and the Prey-Switching Hypothesis. Marine Mammal Science. 23(4): 766-802

McCluskey, S.M. 2006. Space Use Patterns and Population Trends of Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Relation to Distribution and Abundance of Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) in the Inland Marine Waters of Washington State and British Columbia. Master’s Thesis. University of Washington, Seattle. 193 pp

Fowler, C.W. and S.M. McCluskey. 2003. Over-fishing: single species and ecosystems. Page 6 in: Mace, P. (ed.) Proceedings of the seventh NMFS National Stock Assessment Workshop: Rebuilding sustainable fisheries and marine ecosystems. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-62, 45 pp.

Presentations

McCluskey, S.M. 2006. Quantification of Killer Whale Movement Patterns and Population Associations in Relation to Preferred Prey. Invited Seminar, Science Lecture Series, Northwest Fishery Science Center, NMFS, Seattle, Washington.

McCluskey, S.M. 2006. Analytical Approaches to Studies in Marine Mammal Foraging Ecology. Invited Speaker, Beam Reach Marine Science and Sustainability School, Friday Harbor, Washington.

McCluskey, S.M. 2006. Space Use Patterns and Population Trends of Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in Relation to Distribution and Abundance of Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) in the Inland Marine Waters of Washington State and British Columbia. Invited Seminar, Fish and Wildlife Seminar Series, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington.

McCluskey, S.M. 2006. Movement Patterns and Population Trends of SRKWs in Relation to Relative Abundance and Distribution of Pacific Salmon. Oral presentation. Southern Resident Killer Whale Symposium. Seattle, Washington..

McCluskey, S.M. 2006. Killer Whales and Salmon: Correlations Through Space and Time in the Inland Waters of the Pacific Northwest. Invited Seminar, American Cetacean Society Speaker Series, Seattle, Washington.

McCluskey, S.M. 2005. Killer Whales Around the Globe. Guest Lecturer, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

McCluskey, S.M. 2005. Quantifying Whale Movement Over Time. Oral Presentation. University of Washington Graduate Student Symposium. Seattle, Washington.

McCluskey, S.M. 2004. Spatial Analysis of Killer Whale Distribution: A Wee Step. Oral Presentation. Society for Marine Mammalogy, Northwest Student Chapter Meeting, Seattle, Washington.

Posters

McCluskey, S.M., G.R. VanBlaricom, and L.L. Conquest. 2005. Exploring Correlations Between Population Trends of Southern Resident Killer Whales and Pacific Salmon off Washington State (USA) and British Columbia (Canada). Poster Presentation. Society for Conservation Biology, Brasilia, Brasil.

McCluskey, S.M., M.G. Logsdon, and G.R. VanBlaricom. 2005. Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) and Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.): Correlations Through Space and Time in the Inland Waters of Washington State and British Columbia. Poster Presentation. Puget Sound Georgia Basin Research Conference, Seattle, Washington.

McCluskey, S.M., G.R. VanBlaricom, and M.G. Logsdon. 2004. Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) and Pacific Salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.): Correlations Through Space and Time in the Semi-Enclosed Marine Waters of Washington State (USA) and British Columbia (Canada). Poster Presentation. Society for Conservation Biology, New York, New York.

McCluskey, S.M., G.R. VanBlaricom, and M.G. Logsdon. 2003. Retrospective Analyses of Linkages of Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcinus orca [L.]) with Spatial and Temporal Changes in Salmon Stocks of Northern Washington and Southern British Columbia. Poster Presentation. Society for Marine Mammalogy, Greensboro, North Carolina.

Fowler, C.W. and S.M. McCluskey. 2001. Sustainability, Ecosystems, and Fishery Management. Poster Presentation. PICES, Victoria, British Columbia.

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