The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute is dedicated to unlocking the world's genomic information to drive targeted treatment of diseases. Its goals are to accelerate the power of the global research community to solve today's intractable health problems; le
James Estes is an ex-employee of the USGS, where he worked as a research scientist for 40 years.Now he is an adjunct professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCSC.
As an overall sea otter expert, Estes says that the disease aspect of elevated sea otter mortality rates is complicated.
"We don't really see much of a problem with the living mammals, but the dead ones that we find on the beach are really diseased," Estes says.
"We don't understand why the population isn't increasing," Estes says.
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In April 2008, Jim, along with Dr. Jim Estes, world-renowned expert on sea otters, Andy Johnson, Manager, Monterey Bay Aquarium's Sea Otter Research and Conservation Program, were invited to be expert witnesses to testify about sea otters before the Congressional Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife and the Oceans.
Prior to re-joining Friends of the Sea Otter, Jim was the marine program associate for Defenders of Wildlife for just under 11 years and Science Director for Friends of the Sea Otter for 2.5 years.
James A. EstesAfter growing up in southern California, Jim received a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota in 1967 and doctorate from the University of Arizona in 1974.He subsequently worked as a research scientist for the Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Geological Survey.After retiring from federal service in 2007, Jim took a part time faculty position with the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he currently resides.Jim is an internationally known expert on marine mammals and a specialist in the critical role of apex (top level) predators in the marine environment.
Much of this work has been with sea otters and coastal ecosystems in the North Pacific Ocean.
Jim has conducted field research in Alaska, California, Mexico, New Zealand, and Russia.
He has published more than 150 scientific articles, several books and monographs, and has served on the editorial boards for a variety of professional journals.He also served on the California and southwest Alaska sea otter recovery teams.
Jim's most recent book, published by Island Press in 2010, is a co-edited volume with John Terborgh entitled Trophic Cascades: Predators, Prey and the Changing Dynamics of Nature.
Jim is a Pew Fellow in marine conservation and a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.He received the Western Society of Naturalist's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and the American Society of Mammalogists' C. Hart Merriam Award in 2012.
PI: James Estes, University of California, Santa Cruz; John Terborgh, Duke University*
Dr. James Estes, Research Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey and Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and Dr. John Terborgh, Director of the Duke University Center for Tropical Conservation, convened a group of 21 world-class scientists who have studied the ecological roles of large predators.
James Estes, PhDDr. James Estes is an international expert on sea otters and a specialist in the critical role of apex (top level) predators in the marine environment.He has been a research biologist at the Western Ecological Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey for more than 20 years.Estes also holds academic posts as research associate and adjunct professor with the Center for Marine Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.His interest in predation as an ecosystem-level process began in the early 1970s, after he began working with sea otters.
Using the otters' fragmented distribution across the Aleutian archipelago (which resulted from a history of near-extinction and recovery), he and a colleague discovered the species' keystone role in kelp forests by comparing islands where it was abundant or rare.
This work provided a spectacular example of how apex predators influence ecosystem functions.
Estes continued to explore the dimensions of sea otter-kelp forest interactions over the next 30 years, including the unanticipated collapse of sea otters and kelp forests in western Alaska.
He has now published nearly 70 scientific articles and reports on wildlife ecology, predation and conservation, and was lead editor of the 2007 book, "Whales, Whaling, and Ocean Ecosystems.Estes is a recipient of the prestigious Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation (1999).
Dr. Estes' Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation webpage
Jim Estes clearly remembers the day when he peered down from a skiff in Alaska's Aleutian Islands and saw what looked like "the invasion of the sea urchins".
The spiny round blobs had eaten right through the underwater kelp forest that shelters many marine creatures.Normally rare except in deeper waters, the urchins were jostling for space almost up to the beach. "There were just urchins everywhere," said Mr Estes, a researcher with the US Geological Survey in Santa Cruz, California."I was astonished.I just saw lots of urchins where I had not seen them in the past." For years, Mr Estes had been trying to figure out why the sea otters of western Alaska, which feed heavily on urchins, were disappearing.When he saw the urchin explosion, the researcher knew the otters were not dying from lack of food.
The paper, Mr Estes said, carried a message for those trying to manage fisheries one species at a time.
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