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Spatial Ecology of Brown Pelicans in the South Atlantic Bight


September 2016 - December 2020


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 resulted in a relatively incomplete picture of pelican ecology in a pre-spill environment. This RWO will address information gaps relative to Brown Pelicans in the South Atlantic Bight and provide baseline ecological information for the species in the region.

Research Products and Activities

Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Wilkinson, B.P., Y.G. Satge, J.S. Lamb, P.G.R. Jodice. Submitted. Tropical cyclones alter short-term activity patterns of coastal seabird. Functional Ecology


  • Wilkinson, B.P.*, Y. Satge^, J. Lamb*, P.G.R. Jodice. 2018. Behavioral responses of eastern brown pelicans to the passage of Hurricane Irma along the Atlantic coast. 2018. Pacific Seabird Group Annual Meeting, La Paz, Baja, Mexico.

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 2

Masters Students: 3

Phd Students: 1

Post Docs: 1

University Staff: 2

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 14

Scientific Publications: 22

Presentations: 82



Funding Agencies

  • USGS


South Carolina Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Clemson University
  2. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
  3. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  4. U.S. Geological Survey
  5. Wildlife Management Institute