Biodiversity Research Institute
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Wildlife Research and Field Biologist
Chandra Goetsch, Ph.D.
Chandra in Kodiak, Alaska on the Japanese research cruise in 2012

Chandra Goetsch, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

207-887-7160 x206
chandra.goetsch@briloon.org

Chandra is a wildlife and spatial ecologist whose work focuses on the diet and foraging behavior of marine top predators in relation to their prey and the environment.

Chandra earned her doctoral degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she worked with Dr. Daniel Costa on the foraging ecology of northern elephant seals. Her research combined biotelemetry and biochemical methods of diet determination to investigate the trophic dynamics of northern elephant seals in relation to their mesopelagic prey base in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. She has modelled diet composition, analyzed diving and migratory behavior, and examined the potential effects of climate variability on seal foraging behavior.

Chandra has studied a range of marine wildlife in the field, including elephant seals, seabirds, and bottlenose dolphins. In addition to co-leading elephant seal field seasons at Año Nuevo State Reserve in California, she has conducted small boat surveys of bottlenose dolphins and seabirds in Florida for population tracking, behavioral observation, and prey interactions. She also participated in a research cruise with Japanese colleagues at Hokkaido University to collect samples of potential prey of elephant seals and albatrosses in the eastern North Pacific and the Bering Sea.  

Chandra began her postdoctoral research at BRI in September 2020, conducting research on multi-scale relationships between marine predators and forage fish in the Northwestern Atlantic. This project focuses on combining data from multiple surveys to better understand the distribution and availability of forage fish to predators in the mid-Atlantic and New England Outer Continental Shelf.

Education

 
  • Ph.D., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), 2018
  • M.A., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC), 2015
  • B.S., Ecology and Evolution, University of Pittsburgh, 2008
  • B.A., English, State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo), 2003

Research Interests

 
  • Movement and foraging ecology of marine and terrestrial wildlife
  • Habitat modeling of animal populations threatened by habitat change or degradation
  • Individual variability in behavior and diet and links to population-level dynamics
  • Conservation and physiological ecology

Journal Articles

 
  • Goetsch, C., M. G. Conners, S. M. Budge, Y. Mitani, W. A. Walker, S. E. Simmons, and D. P. Costa. (in prep) Spatial, seasonal, and interannual diet differences revealed for a deep-ocean predator. Marine Ecology Progress Series.

  • Peterson, S., C. Goetsch, L. A. Hückstädt, R. R. Holser, E. McHuron, P. W. Robinson, and D. P. Costa. (in prep) Effects of foraging behavior and sex on stable isotopes in a wide-ranging marine predator. 
  • Goetsch, C. (2018) Illuminating the twilight zone: Diet and foraging strategies of a deep-sea predator, the northern elephant seal. PhD Dissertation. University of California Santa Cruz. ProQuest ID: Goetsch_ucsc_0036E_11715
  • Goetsch, C., M. G. Conners, S. M. Budge, Y. Mitani, W. A. Walker, J. F. Bromaghin, S. E. Simmons, C. Reichmuth, and D. P. Costa. (2018) Energy-rich mesopelagic fishes revealed as a critical prey resource for a deep-diving predator using quantitative fatty acid signature analysis. Frontiers in Marine Science 5. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00430.
  • Conners, M. G., C. Goetsch, S. M. Budge, W. A. Walker, Y. Mitani, D. P. Costa and S. A. Shaffer (2018). Fisheries exploitation by albatross quantified with lipid analysis. Frontiers in Marine Science 5. doi:10.3389/fmars.2018.00113.
  • Saijo D., Y. Mitani, T. Abe, H. Sasaki, C. Goetsch, D. P. Costa, and K. Miyashita. (2016) Linking mesopelagic prey abundance and distribution to the foraging behavior of a deep-diving predator, the northern elephant seal. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography. doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2016.11.007.
  • Schwartz, L., S. Villegas-Antmann, R. S. Beltran, D. P. Costa, C. Goetsch, L. A. Hückstädt, J. M. Maresh, and S. Peterson. (2015) Comparisons and uncertainty in fat and adipose tissue estimation techniques: The northern elephant seal as a case study. PLoS One 10(6): e0131877.
  • Robinson, P.W., D. P. Costa, D. E. Crocker, J. P. Gallo-Reynoso, C. Champagne, M. A. Fowler, C. Goetsch, K. Goetz, J. Hassrick, L. A. Hückstädt, C. Kuhn, J. Maresh, S. M. Maxwell, B. McDonald, S. Peterson, S. E. Simmons, N. M. Teutschel, S. Villegas-Amtmann, and K. Yoda. (2012) Foraging behavior and success of a mesopelagic predator in the northeast Pacific Ocean: Insights from a data-rich species, the northern elephant seal. PLoS One. 7(5): e36728.
  • Goetsch, C., J. Wigg, A. Royo, T. Ristau and W. P. Carson. (2011) Chronic over browsing and biodiversity collapse in a forest understory in Pennsylvania: Results from a 60-year-old deer exclusion plot. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 138(2):220-224.

Presentations and Posters

 
  • Goetsch, C. (2018) Illuminating the twilight zone: Diet and foraging strategies of a deep-sea predator, the northern elephant seal. UCSC Doctoral Defense Seminar. (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C., M. G. Conners, S. E. Simmons, W. Walker, Y. Mitani, C. Reichmuth, S. M. Budge, J. P. GalloReynoso, and D. P. Costa. (2015) A game of niches: Dietary differences reveal niche partitioning at multiple scales for a mesopelagic predator. 21th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. San Francisco, California, USA. (poster presentation)
  •  Mitani, Y., D. Saijo, T. Abe, H. Sasaki, C. Goetsch, D. P. Costa, and K. Miyashita. (2015). Hunting the dark depths: Prey abundance and distribution in the mysterious world of a deep-diving predator, the northern elephant seal. 21th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. San Francisco, California, USA. (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C., M. G. Conners, S. E. Simmons, W. Walker, Y. Mitani, C. Reichmuth, S. M. Budge, and D. P. Costa. (2015) Specific foraging behaviors are associated with different diets in northern elephant seals,  (Mirounga angustirostris). Meeting of the California Student Chapter of the Marine Mammal Society. Moss Landing, CA, USA. (oral presentation)
  • Conners, M. G., C. Goetsch, S. M. Budge, Y. Mitani, W. Walker, D. P. Costa, and S. A. Shaffer. (2015) Blackfooted albatrosses have higher levels of individual variability in behavior and diet than their sympatrically breeding congener, the Laysan albatross. The 42nd Annual Meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group. San Jose, CA. (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C., M. G. Conners, S. E. Simmons, W. Walker, Y. Mitani, C. Reichmuth, S. M. Budge, and D. P. Costa. (2014) Specific foraging behaviors are associated with different diets in northern elephant seals, (Mirounga angustirostris). 5th International Biologging Symposium. Strasbourg, France. (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C., M. G. Conners, S. E. Simmons, W. Walker, Y. Mitani, C. Reichmuth, S. M. Budge, and D. P. Costa. (2014) Revealing the diet of the northern elephant seal: Insights into a mesopelagic food web. IMBER Open Science Conference. Bergen, Norway. (oral presentation) •
  • Goetsch, C., M. G. Conners, S. E. Simmons, W. Walker, Y. Mitani, C. Reichmuth, S. M. Budge, and D. P. Costa. (2014) Climate variability is linked to diet switching in a marine predator, the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostrus). PICES FUTURE Open Science Meeting. Kona, Hawaii, USA. (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C., M. G. Conners, S. E. Simmons, W. Walker, Y. Mitani, C. Reichmuth, S. Budge, and D. P. Costa. (2014) What’s on the menu? Determining the diet of a mesopelagic predator. UCSC Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Graduate Student Research Symposium. Santa Cruz, CA, USA. (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C. (2014) Evidence of diet specialization and prey switching in northern elephant seals: Implications for responses to climate variability. Mathias Grant Symposium. Bodega Bay, CA, USA. (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C., (2013) Effects of climate variability on the diet, foraging behavior, and habitat preferences of the northern elephant seal. UCSC Proposal Defense Seminar. (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C., M. G. Conners, S. E. Simmons, W. Walker, Y. Mitani, S. M. Budge, and D. P. Costa. (2013) What’s on the menu? Determining the diet of a mesopelagic predator. 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. Dunedin, New Zealand. (poster presentation)
  • Adachi, T., P. W. Robinson, T. Takahashi, C. Goetsch, S. H. Peterson, D.P. Costa, and N. Yasuhiko. How do seals swim? Swimming behavior constrained by biomechanical and ecological factors. The Third Symposium on Polar Science, Tokyo, Japan (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C., P. W. Robinson, G. A. Breed, S. M. Maxwell, M. A. Fowler, N. M.  Teutschel, S. E., Simmons, D. E. Crocker, and D. P. Costa.  (2012) The changing face of El Niño: The influence of a strong Central Pacific El Niño on the foraging behavior of northern elephant seals. UCSC Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Graduate Student Research Symposium. Santa Cruz, CA, USA. (poster presentation)
  • Adachi, T., P.W. Robinson, T. Takahashi, C. Goetsch, S. H. Peterson, D. P. Costa and N. Yasuhiko. (2011) Change in stroking pattern of female northern elephant seals throughout their post-breeding migration. The Second Symposium on Polar Science, Tokyo, Japan (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C., P. W. Robinson, G. A. Breed, S. M. Maxwell, M. A. Fowler, N. M.  Teutschel, S. E., Simmons, D. E. Crocker, and D. P. Costa.  (2011) The changing face of El Niño: The influence of a strong Central Pacific El Niño on the foraging behavior of northern elephant seals. 19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals.  Tampa, Florida, U.S.A. (poster presentation)
  •  Goetsch, C., P. W. Robinson, G. A. Breed, S. M. Maxwell, M. A. Fowler, N. M. Teutschel, S. E. Simmons, D. E. Crocker, and D. P. Costa. (2011) When is El Niño too hot to handle? Evidence of a tolerance threshold for a marine top predator. UCSC Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Graduate Student Research Symposium. Santa Cruz, CA, USA. (oral presentation)
  • Goetsch, C., P. W. Robinson, G. A. Breed, S. M. Maxwell, M. A. Fowler, N. M. Teutschel, S. E. Simmons, D. E. Crocker, and D. P. Costa. (2011) When is El Niño too hot to handle? Evidence of a tolerance threshold for a marine top predator. 4th International Biologging Symposium. Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. (oral presentation)

Grants, Awards, and Fellowships

 
  • National Science Foundation GK-12 Fellowship – Santa Cruz-Watsonville Inquiry-Based Learning in Environmental Sciences (SCWIBLES) (2014-2015)
  • University of California Regent’s Fellowship (2013-2014)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2009-2013)
  • UCSC Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department Research Grant (2018)
  • UCSC Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department Research Grant (2017)
  • UCSC Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department Research Grant (2016)
  • UCSC Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department Research Grant (2015)
  • UCSC Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department Research Grant (2014)
  • PICES (North Pacific Marine Science Organization) Travel Grant to attend the FUTURE (Forecasting and Understanding Trends, Uncertainty and Responses of North Pacific Marine Ecosystems) Open Science Meeting (2014)
  • UCSC Graduate Student Association Travel Grant to attend the 5th International Biologging Symposium in France (2014) $300 USD • UCSC Graduate Division Research Grant (2013)
  • UCSC Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department Research Grant (2013)
  • Society for Marine Mammalogy Travel Grant to attend the 20th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in New Zealand (2013)
  • UC Natural Reserve System: Mathias Student Research Grant (2013)
  • Myers Oceanographic & Marine Biology Trust (2012)
  • UC Natural Reserve System: Mathias Student Research Grant (2011)
  • Society for Marine Mammalogy Travel Grant to attend the 19th Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals in Florida (2011)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Travel Allowance to attend the 4th International Biologging Symposium in Tasmania, Australia (2011)
  • Gilbert Scholarship for the Sarasota Dolphin Research Internship at Mote Marine Lab (2009)
  • Richard T. Hartman Scholarship for room and board at Pymatuning Lab of Ecology (2007)
  • Renaissance Scholar Award for completion of studies in two widely disparate disciplines (2003) (State University of New York at Buffalo)
  • Boston University Grant (1998-1999)
  • Boston University Academic Achievement Award (1998-1999)
Biodiversity Research Institute