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Eastern Brown Pelicans: Dispersal, Seasonal Movements and Monitoring of PAHs and Contaminants in the Northern Gulf of Mexico


June 2012 - November 2019


The ongoing exploration and development of oil and gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM, or Gulf), as well as potential renewable energy and alternate use projects, will require continued and enhanced data streams to support a variety of decision documents including but not limited to compliance with NEPA, ESA, and MBTA. Nearshore seabirds such as Brown Pelicans can serve as a valuable indicator species for ecosystem health in marine, coastal and estuarine systems because they are transboundary in nature and integrate information across a range of trophic systems. Furthermore, pelicans are a species of conservation concern for most states in the Gulf region (as well as the Southern Atlantic states). Prior to the Deepwater Horizon (DWH) spill, however, little research effort was invested on examining the foraging ecology, reproductive success, movement patterns, or health of Brown Pelicans in the Gulf. The sparse availability of such data for pelicans (as well as other nearshore seabirds in the region such as Royal Tern and Black Skimmer) resulted in a relatively incomplete picture of pelican ecology in a pre-spill environment. At this time it is unclear what effect, if any, the DWH spill had on pelicans in the Gulf although ongoing research efforts (some of which include the PI) may elucidate such effects. This research will address information gaps relative to Brown Pelicans in the GOM and provide baseline ecological information for the species in the region.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Lamb, J.S., Y.G. Satge, C.V. Fiorello, P.G.R. Jodice. 2016. Behavioral and reproductive effects of bird-borne data logger attachment on Brown Pelicans on three temporal scales. Journal of Ornithology. doi:10.1007/s10336-016-1418-3
  • Lamb, J.S.*, K.M. O’Reilly, P.G.R. Jodice. Physical condition and stress levels during early development reflect feeding rates and predict pre- and post-fledging survival in a nearshore seabird. Conservation Physiology 4 (1): cow060. doi: 10.1093/conphys/cow060
  • Lamb, J.S., Y.G. Satge, P.G.R. Jodice. 2017. Influence of density-dependent competition on foraging and migratory behavior of a subtropical colonial seabird. Ecology and Evolution 2017;00:1–13. Publisher Website | 
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  • Lamb, J. 2016 Ecological Drivers of Brown Pelican Movement Patterns and Reproductive Success in the Gulf of Mexico. PhD Dissertation Clemson University


  • Lamb, J.*, P.G.R. Jodice. 2014. Comparative performance of cellular and satellite transmitters deployed on Brown pelicans in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Pacific Seabird Group Annual Meeting, Juneau, Alaska.
  • Lamb, J.*, P.G.R. Jodice. 2014. Gradients in breeding Brown Pelican forging radius, chick condition, and diet across the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Pacific Seabird Group Annual Meeting, Juneau, Alaska.
  • Lamb, J.*, P.G.R. Jodice. 2014. Year-round spatial overlap between energy infrastructure and brown pelican movements in the Gulf of Mexico. International Marine Conservation Congress, Glasgow, Scotland [Poster].
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 239

Phd Students: 142

Post Docs: 53

University Staff: 240

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 701

Scientific Publications: 1936

Presentations: 4260



Funding Agencies



Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey