Russel D. Andrews, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor, School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks


Foraging ecology of marine mammals; Comparative physiology; Biotelemetry development. One of the unifying themes of my research is: How and why do air-breathing vertebrates
dive beneath the surface of the ocean?
It took me a while to find my way from the Midwest to the west coast, but a stint in the Army band brought me to California, and after realizing I was going to starve as musician, I enrolled at UCLA to study biology (where the big bucks are). From there I moved north to Vancouver, BC where I studied with Dave Jones at the University of British Columbia to obtain my Ph.D. in Zoology. For my thesis I built data loggers to record the heart rate, body temperature, and diving behavior of elephant seals to learn how they could hold their breath for up to 2 hours. I stayed at UBC for post-doctoral work with Dave Jones and Peter Hochachka, conducting research on the diving physiology of harbor seals, double-crested cormorants, and leatherback sea turtles. In 2002 I moved even further north to take up my current position with UAF and the SeaLife Center. One of my main projects has been the foraging ecology and population biology of Steller sea lions and sympatrically breeding northern fur seals, but recently my research has expanded to include elusive cetacean species, especially deep-diving odontocetes. I’m especially interested in studying how physiological constraints affect the ability of marine vertebrates to adapt to changes in their environment. To do this, I spend a lot of effort to develop high-tech gizmos (biotelemetry instruments) so that we can study these animals that spend most of their time far from view, and I have been lucky to study species from the Arctic to the Antarctic. My work frequently involves international collaborations and I am currently fortunate to be collaborating with researchers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the Ukraine.
Schorr, G.S., E.A. Falcone, D.J. Moretti and R.D. Andrews (2014). First long-term behavioral records from Cuvier’s beaked whales (Ziphius cavirostris) reveal record-breaking dives. PLoS One 9(3): e92633.
Mitani, Y., R.D. Andrews, K. Sato, A. Kato, Y. Naito, and D.P. Costa. (2010). 3D resting behavior of northern elephant seals: drifting like a falling leaf. Biology Letters 6:163-166.  
Gurarie, E., R.D. Andrews and K.L. Laidre. (2009). A novel method for identifying behavioural changes in animal movement data. Ecology Letters 12:395-408.
Cooke S.J., S.G. Hinch, M. Wikelski, R.D. Andrews, L.J. Kuchel, T.G. Wolcott, and P.J. Butler. (2004). Biotelemetry: a mechanistic approach to ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19(6):334-343.
Southwood, A. L., R.D. Andrews, M.E. Lutcavage, F.V. Paladino, N.H. West,  R.H. George and D.R. Jones. (1999). Heart rates and diving behaviour of leatherback sea turtles in the Eastern Pacific ocean. Journal of Experimental Biology 202:1115-1125.
Andrews, R. D., D.R. Jones, J.D. Williams, P.H. Thorson, G.W. Oliver, D.P. Costa and B.J. Le Boeuf, (1997). Heart rates of northern elephant seals diving at sea and resting on the beach. Journal of Experimental Biology 200:2083-2095.
CBC Radio show Quirks and Quarks interview with Dr. Andrews about elephant seals,featuring our Biology Letters article with Yoko Mitani
A feature from Alaska Sea Grant Arctic Science Journeys, about Dr. Russ Andrews' work on the foraging ecology of Steller sea lions.
A feature from Alaska Sea Grant Arctic Science Journeys, about Dr. Russ Andrews' work on the diving physiology of elephant seals.