Dr Sascha Hooker

Dr Sascha Hooker


My research concerns specifically the foraging and diving behaviour of marine predators and more generally how this can inform conservation planning in the ocean.

Current Projects

Marine predator foraging ecology

Work on predator foraging often relies on inference from dive profiles. Using a miniature video camera attached to the animal we can view the foraging space of a diving animal and test previously used proxies for foraging behaviour. The identification of foraging areas and assessment of the stability of these over time and space enable us to investigate variability in foraging success and the criteria driving this (whether anthropogenically or environmentally induced).

Diving physiology

The mechanisms allowing marine mammals to avoid problems associated with diving to depth are still only partially understood. Recent deaths of beaked whales associated with sonar exposure appear to be due to decompression sickness. I am interested in how problems such as shallow-water blackout and decompression sickness are avoided, and use modelling approaches to determine risk based on dive profiles.

Conservation planning and marine protected areas

An ecosystem-approach is widely advocated in conservation planning but ecosystem modelling approaches, despite their sophistication, often suffer from a lack of source data or inherent uncertainties. An alternative is to use spatially explicit management. I am interested in the application of such marine reserve areas to higher predators.

source: symbiosis


Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews
Hooker, SK, Simmons, SE, Stimpert, AK & McDonald, BI 2017, 'Equity and career-life balance in marine mammal science?' Marine Mammal Science, vol 33, no. 3, pp. 955-965. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12407
Hooker, SK 2017, Toothed whales. in Encyclopedia of marine mammals. 3rd edn, Elsevier.
Miller, P, Kvadsheim, PH, Lam, FPA, Tyack, PL, Curé, C, De Ruiter, SL, Kleivane, L, Sivle, LD, van IJsselmuide, SP, Visser, F, Wensveen, PJ, von Benda-Beckmann, AM, Martin Lopez, LM, Narazaki, T & Hooker, SK 2015, 'First indications that northern bottlenose whales are sensitive to behavioural disturbance from anthropogenic noise' Royal Society Open Science, vol 2, 140484. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.140484
Hooker, SK 2015, Marine mammals: sperm whales and beaked whales. in Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.09499-9
Williams, R, Grand, J, Hooker, SK, Buckland, ST, Reeves, RR, Rojas-Bracho, L, Sandilands, D & Kaschner, K 2014, 'Prioritizing global marine mammal habitats using density maps in place of range maps' Ecography, vol 37, no. 3, pp. 212-220. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2013.00479.x
Hooker, SK, Fahlman, A, Moore, MJ, Aguilar de Soto, N, Bernaldo de Quiros, Y, Brubakk, AO, Costa, DP, Costidis, AM, Dennison, S, Falke, KJ, Fernandez, A, Ferrigno, M, Fitz-Clarke, JR, Garner, MM, Houser, DS, Jepson, PD, Ketten, DR, Kvadsheim, PH, Madsen, PT, Pollock, NW, Rotstein, DS, Rowles, TK, Simmons, SE, Van Bonn, W, Weathersby, PK, Weise, MJ, Williams, TM & Tyack, PL 2012, 'Deadly diving? Physiological and behavioural management of decompression stress in diving mammals' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 279, no. 1731, pp. 1041-1050. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2011.2088
Hooker, SK, Canadas, AM, Hyrenbach, KD, Corrigan, C, Polovina, JJ & Reeves, RR 2011, 'Making protected area networks effective for marine top predators.' Endangered Species Research, vol 13, no. 3, pp. 203-218. DOI: 10.3354/esr00322
McConnell, BJ, Fedak, MA, Hooker, SK & Patterson, T 2010, Telemetry. in IL Boyd, WD Bowen & SJ Iverson (eds), Marine Mammal Ecology and Conservation: A handbook of Techniques. Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 222-241.
Bearhop, S, Bearzi, G, Block, B, Bograd, S, Cooke, SJ, Costa, D, Godfrey, MH, Godley, BJ, Hamner, C, Hodgson, D, Hooker, SK, Matthiopoulos, J, C., M, Seminoff, JA & Wilson, R (eds) 2010, 'Biologging technologies: new tools for conservation' Endangered Species Research, vol 10, no. 1-3.
Hooker, SK, Perrin, WF (ed.), Wursig, B (ed.) & Thewissen, HGM (ed.) Toothed whales, overview. Pages 1252 - 1260..
Hooker, SK, Baird, RW, Al-Omari, S, Gowans, S & Whitehead, H 2001, 'Behavioral reactions of northern bottlenose whales to biopsy darting and tag attachment procedures.' Fishery Bulletin, vol 99, no. 2, pp. 303-308..


The Secretary
Scottish Oceans Institute
Institiud Chuantan na h-Alba
Gatty Marine Laboratory
East Sands St Andrews
KY16 8LB

tel: +44 (0) 1334 463472
fax: +44 (0) 1334 463443