Plenary Speakers

Lucy Hawkes
University of Exeter Twitter: @DrLucyHawkes

Lucy is a physiological ecologist, whose work focuses on the costs and drivers of migration in animals (vertebrates and invertebrates) using emergent technologies such as satellite telemetry, heart rate logging, accelerometry and metabolic rate measurements. She uses technical approaches including biologging, spatial ecology, remote sensing and respirometry to make empirical measurements that help in the understanding of amazing migratory performances. Her work has also investigated the impact of external forcing factors, such as climate change and disease ecology on migration and breeding ecology. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Physiological Ecology at the University of Exeter.


Lucy’s plenary presentation at BLS7 is scheduled for 7:30 AM - 8:15 AM (HST, UTC-10) on October 18. Below is an abstract of her planned presentation:

The Second Age of Bio-logging Has Arrived

The field of biologging is one of the most dynamic, interdisciplinary, challenging and exciting sciences, with technological developments accelerating our understanding of wild animal ecology in flux with our changing planet. The workhorse of the biologging world, the geolocation tracking device (whether satellite relayed, archival or inferential), has produced stunning insights across a huge range of taxa, and has underpinned the careers of many of us in this field today. In this talk, I speculate about the future of biologging, drawing from a project thinking about the future of physiological telemetry. I will detail how the medical and sports wearables industries have a rich range of technologies available that have yet to be well exploited by our biologging discipline. These tools are underpinned by huge market opportunities, improving their reliability and reducing their size. In addition, agriculture, aquaculture and domestic pet industries also produce devices to collect data on animal movement and health, which have yet to be translated broadly into our field. I argue that the future is bright, evolving, and it is a very exciting time to be working in biologging.


Vikram Iyer
University of washington

Vikram Iyer is an Assistant Professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Vikram’s research takes an interdisciplinary approach to connect ideas between different engineering domains and biology to build end-to-end wireless systems that push the boundaries of technology with particular focus on size, weight, and power.  This includes technologies for ultra-low power communication, insect-scale wireless robots, battery-free sensors, as well as cameras and sensors small enough to ride on the back of live insects like beetles and bumblebees. He has also worked closely with the Washington Department of Agriculture to wirelessly track the invasive “murder” hornets (Vespa mandarinia), which resulted in the destruction of the first nest in the US. His current research interests include developing new capabilities for miniaturized radio tags as well as exploring the use of robotic technologies like drones and satellites for wildlife tracking and conservation. Vikram’s work has been recognized by a Microsoft Research Fellowship, the Marconi Society Paul Baran Young Scholar award, a AAAS member spotlight, Geekwire’s Innovation of the Year Award, and best paper awards.


Vikram’s plenary presentation at BLS7 is scheduled for 8:00 AM - 8:45 AM (HST, UTC-10) on October 19. Below is an abstract of his planned presentation:

Bio-logging at Insect Scale

Tracking and collecting data from small animals such as insects and birds in the field is challenging. The limited payloads they can carry impose severe size, weight and power constraints on sensing electronics. This talk explores how innovations in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can be used to build both novel, miniaturized radio tracking tags weighing as little as 100 mg and tags that integrate sensors capable of measuring temperature, humidity, light, acceleration, and more. I will present a case study of using these radio tags to track invasive Asian giant hornets (Vespa mandarinia) recently discovered in the US and using tags with onboard sensors to study their foraging behavior. I will also discuss opportunities for building new tracking architectures that leverage commodity receivers, drones, and small satellites.


Yuuki Watanabe is an Associate Professor at the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR), Japan. He was born and grew up in Gifu, Japan, before entering the University of Tokyo in 1998. After completing a PhD at the university in 2007, he became a JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of

Science) research fellow before moving to NIPR as an Assistant Professor in 2008. Using biologging technologies, he studies the behavioral ecology of a range of marine animals, including fishes, seabirds, and marine mammals.


Yuuki’s plenary presentation at BLS7 is scheduled for 9:00 PM - 9:45 PM (HST, UTC-10) on October 19. Below is an abstract of his planned presentation:

Diving Behavior and Foraging Ecology of Baikal Seals

The world’s deepest ancient lake, Lake Baikal, has a diverse endemic fauna, including Baikal seals, the only pinniped species inhabiting exclusively freshwater systems.  They are abundant (about 100,000 individuals) and consume a range of prey that are also endemic.  Despite their biological uniqueness and ecological importance, our knowledge of Baikal seals is surprisingly limited.  As the only active research team working on Baikal seals, two colleagues and I have been using biologging technologies to study their diving behavior and foraging ecology since 2002.  Over the past years, biologging devices have improved dramatically, allowing us to obtain increasingly detailed information.  In 2018, we used accelerometers and video camera tags to find that Baikal seals hunt an endemic, tiny amphipod individually with their specialized teeth at the highest rates ever recorded for aquatic mammals.  Our finding that they directly eat macroplankton may explain why they are so abundant in this ultraoligotrophic lake.  In this talk, I will chronologically outline my research activities on Baikal seals, highlighting the advancement of biologging devices.


Francesca Cagnacci
Fondazione edmund mach

Francesca Cagnacci is a behavioral and conservation ecologist with research emphasis on ecological and evolutionary determinants of animal behavior, movement, and resource use. In particular, she looks into the effects of climate and global change on animal spatial distribution and organismal interactions. She initiated and coordinates the bottom-up research consortium EUROMAMMALS, to study terrestrial mammal movement at a large scale, under climatic and human-impact gradients. Dr. Cagnacci holds a deep interest in technology applied to conservation issues (biologging, data standards). She has recently co-initiated the COVID-19 Bio-Logging Initiative, in the context of the International Bio-Logging Society, and the Global Initiative on Ungulate Migration. She is vice-chair of the 2023 GRC in Movement Ecology of Animals.


Francesca’s plenary presentation at BLS7 is scheduled for 8:00 AM - 8:45 AM (HST, UTC-10) on October 21. Below is an abstract of her planned presentation:

Every Step You Take: From Bio-Logging to Mechanistic Movement Models

Bio-Logging technologies provide an unprecedented time-series of behavioural and physiological variables. However, the understanding and quantification of mechanisms underpinning these observations is still under development. For example, the role of latent cognitive variables - such as memory and perception - in explaining the use of space and resources by mammals has been so far largely restricted to empirical work in laboratory and controlled settings, or theoretical modelling. Recent research has reconciled mechanistic movement modelling with observational studies in wild settings by using bio-logging data to parametrize the models and predict observed patterns. The use of high-resolution, high-accuracy new generation bio-logging devices, combined with robust experimental designs in wild settings, promises to contribute to a new era in mathematical modelling of complex processes ranging from animal behaviour to species distributions.

marlee tucker
Radboud university Twitter: @MarleeTucker

Marlee is interested in large scale patterns in ecology, biogeography and evolution that can aid our understanding of species vulnerability to changing environments that can be utilised for conservation. Her research encompasses macroecological questions related to allometric scaling, predator–prey interactions and animal behaviour.


Marlee’s plenary presentation at BLS7 is scheduled for 8:00 PM - 8:45 PM (HST, UTC-10) on October 21. Below is an abstract of her planned presentation:

Multi-species Bio-logging Data and Animal Behaviour in the Anthropocene

Animal behaviour is being altered by the increasing human population, and land use changes. Behavioural changes are vast, including shifting activity patterns, restricted movement, and altered species interactions. In order to get an overview of how human activities have impacted animals, we can combine bio-logging data across multiple species and across large-spatial scales. This has become easier with the increasing availability of bio-logging data, and we can now combine techniques from macroecology and bio-logging to quantify the effects of humans on animal behaviour worldwide. I will provide examples from my research using multi-species GPS data to illustrate that animal movement patterns are changing in human-modified landscapes. As movement is a key ecological trait of animals, shifting movement patterns not only affects population persistence, but also ecosystem processes, such as nutrient cycling, and disease transmission. Here, I will show how we can apply our findings from a multi-species approach to explore the potential consequences of altered behaviour for animal populations and ecosystem processes. By combining data from multiple species and countries, we can develop a broad-scale understanding of animal behaviour in the Anthropocene, which is important for understanding a range of ecological patterns including species interactions and animal responses to changing environments.


Phillippine chambault
University of california, santa cruz Twitter: @PhilippineCham1

Phillipine’s plenary presentation at BLS7 is scheduled for 5:00 AM - 5:45 AM (HST, UTC-10) on October 22. Below is an abstract of her planned presentation:

Arctic whales in warming waters: demographic and behavioural  consequences?

Over the past 30 years, sea ice in the Arctic has declined by 3-4% per decade, making the Arctic the area experiencing the most rapid ecological changes due to climate change. Understanding the consequences of climate change on the Arctic ecosystem is therefore crucial. As a consequence of rapid sea-ice loss and increasing temperatures, the abundance, diversity and distribution of low trophic level organisms will be inevitably altered, generating cascading effects through the entire marine food chain from phytoplankton to apex predators. Despite their crucial role as bio-indicators of the Arctic marine ecosystem, the influence of climate-induced perturbations on Arctic cetaceans remains poorly understood. By compiling a multi-species long-term tracking and demographic dataset covering 28 years and including three Arctic apex predators (narwhal, bowhead whale and beluga), our project investigates the consequences of warming waters on the population dynamics, seasonal movements and geographic range of Arctic whales. While bowhead whales target a narrow range of sea surface temperature (SST) varying from -0.5 to 2 °C, the size of the narwhals populations is negatively correlated to SST, with much smaller populations found in warmer waters. Using machine learning, our models project that all three species are expected to move northwards (mean: 275 km) by year 2100 to cope with rising sea temperatures, leaving their current habitat hotspots (mean habitat loss of 36%). These findings raise serious concern about the behavioural and physiological abilities of these niche conservative species to deal with fast ocean warming.

Jasmin graham
minorities in shark sciences

Jasmin Graham is a science communicator, marine biologist and an expert in diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM. She will discuss her journey through marine science and the things she experienced and witnessed along the way that inspired her to take an unlikely career path that brought together all of the things she was passionate about.  Jasmin will discuss the importance of the inclusion of social and environmental justice in conservation conversations as well as the importance of diversity in marine science. You will also learn about Jasmin's DEI work through the organization she co-founded, Minorities in Shark Sciences.


Jasmin’s plenary presentation at BLS7 is scheduled for 9:00 AM - 9:45 AM (HST, UTC-10) on October 22.


haunani Hi'ilani kane
arizona state University 

Haunani Kane is a scientist, surfer, and voyager from Kailua, Oʻahu. Currently an assistant professor with Arizona State University, Haunani’s life is guided by the values and storied history of her kūpuna (ancestors). Using the ocean as her classroom, the sky as her blackboard, and islands as models for sustainable living, Haunani has found a unique way to blend observation and traditional knowledge to form a world view that focuses upon the similarities rather than the differences among western and indigenous science.


Haunani’s plenary presentation at BLS7 is scheduled for 7:00 PM - 7:45 AM (HST, UTC-10) on October 18.

Science in sacred spaces- reimagining native science in academia

Earlier this summer, a group of native Hawaiian researchers and community members embarked on a 15 day voyage to Pāpahanaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Initially the research expedition was established to assess the impacts and recovery upon atoll reef islands at Lalo (French Frigate Shoals) following Walaka, a category 3 hurricane in 2018. Hurricane Walaka converted large regions of pristine coral to rubble and
removed an entire island. Because of COVID, on the ground analysis of island and reef recovery was greatly limited until this summer. This voyage provided native Hawaiian researchers, UH graduate students, and community members the opportunity to explore and reimagine what native science looks like in both academia and in our sacred places. Join the conversation as we dive deeper into what was learned by engaging students
and community in our research.