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Tim Tinker

   Research Wildlife Biologist

Tim Tinker
Santa Cruz Field Station
100 Shaffer Road /
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Phone: (831) 459-2357
Wildlife Biologist Tim Tinker conducting a Sea Otter survey.

Dr. M. Tim Tinker is a Research Wildlife Biologist with the Western Ecological Research Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, and an adjunct Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz.

Since 1993 he has been studying sea otter populations in California, Alaska, British Columbia and the Russian Commander Islands. Dr. Tinker is the project leader for federal research on sea otters in California, and currently heads a multiagency study investigating the factors limiting the recovery of this threatened sub-species. He has also studied sea otters and their roles as top predators in near-shore ecosystems throughout Alaska, and was a co-investigator into causes of the population decline SW Alaska through the 1990’s.  

Dr. Tinker’s research focuses on the ecology of coastal marine communities, particularly the suite of direct and indirect interactions between sea otters and other species in the near-shore environment, and he uses this as a model system to elucidate the influence of high-trophic-level consumers on the organization of the communities within which they live.  

Other related research topics include sea otter foraging ecology, individual behavioral strategies, spatial use and habitat selection, reproductive behavior and mating systems, life history tactics, and the use of population models to inform management and conservation.

  • Behavior of carnivores and social mammals
  • Behavioral ecology of vertebrates
  • Community ecology
  • Marine mammal ecology
  • Pop. viab. models
  • Population biology

  • PhD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz 2004
  • M.Sc., Zoology and Ecology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada 1993
  • B.Sc., Wildlife Biology, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada 1990

  • Member of Southwest Alaska Sea Otter Recovery Team (SWAKSORT) convened by US FWS
  • Member of the Ecological Society of America, 2005-2009
  • Member of The Society for Marine Mammalogy, 1991-2009

  • Research Scientist, US Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center, 2008 -
  • Adjunct Professor, UC Santa Cruz, 2008 -
  • Assistant Research Biologist, UC Santa Cruz, 2007-2008
  • Post-doctoral researcher, UC Santa Cruz, 2004-2007

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