Ari Friedlaender

Polar Scientist in the Spotlight

Learn about all sorts of careers that polar scientists have as we explore their different research areas through the featured Polar Scientist of the Month.

Ari Friedlaender

Associate Researcher, Institute of Marine Sciences, Univ. of California - Santa Cruz

What do you do?

I study the foraging behavior of marine mammals using bio-telemetry tools and try to understand how changes in the marine environment affect predator-prey dynamics.


What is the best thing about your job?

Being able to work in amazing places, with inspiring scientists and with unique and incredible animals.

What is the most important tool you use for research?

A multi-sensor motion and video recording tag that allows us to see, from the whale’s perspective, how it navigates its environment and feeds. The sensors also allow us to understand the movement patterns and behavior of the whales when they are below the surface, and how these relate to changes in their prey.

Why is what you do important?

As top predators, marine mammals can offer us a glimpse into the health and function of marine ecosystems like the Antarctic. Understanding how change affects them will give us insights as to how the impacts of climate change and other human activities will impact marine life. Once we understand this, we can work towards changing how we as humans negatively impact the world’s oceans.

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