Alicia Berlin, Ph.D.


As a research wildlife biologist at PWRC my research focuses on bioenergetics modeling of waterfowl species wintering in the Chesapeake Bay, habitat utilization of Atlantic seaducks using satellite telemetry, evaluating potential use of newer tracking technologies on seabirds, and underwater hearing capabilities of seabirds. To support many of my research projects I manage a captive colony of seabirds at PWRC that includes surf scoters, white winged scoters, long-tailed ducks, harlequin ducks, ruddy ducks, American black ducks, lesser scaup, and red-throated loons.



An adult female surf scoter resting in the water(Credit: Jonathan L Fiely, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Public domain.)

  • Ph.D., Foraging values of Mulinia lateralis and Ischadium recurvum: energetic effects on surf scoters wintering in the Chesapeake Bay. (May 2008)  University of Maryland, advisor: Dr. Mary Ann Ottinger 
  • M.S., Comparative Analysis of Embryonic Growth Rate and Incubation Length in Dabbling Ducks. (December 2000)   Michigan State University, advisor: Dr. Harold H. Prince
  • B.S., Renewable Natural Resources; Concentration in Wildlife Management (May 1998)  University of Connecticut, Storrs

Research Interests:

  • Captured surf scoters and long-tailed ducks using mist-nets, net gun, and night lighting techniques to implant with satellite transmitters in the Chesapeake Bay, Pamlico Sound, and coastal waters of Rhode Island and Nantucket the delineate the Atlantic flyway populations.   Collaborators: USFWS, SDJV, CWS, MDDNR, VADGIF, URI, MA Audubon
  • Captured surf scoters, red-throated loons, and northern gannets to implant with satellite transmitters to determine potential impacts of offshore wind energy development on migratory seabirds.   Collaborators: USFWS, SDJV, MDDNR, BOEM, VADGIF, BRI, Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • Creating a mechanistic model to determine the amount of energetically viable habitat available for wintering black ducks within the refuges of the Bay and creates management recommendations for increasing the quality and quantity of habitat available in the face of sea-level rise and development projections.  Collaborators: USFWS refuges, BDJV, DU, ACJV
  • Determining the hearing abilities of seabirds in air and underwater to determine the potential impacts of underwater noise, such as offshore windpower, on the physiology and behavior of seabirds.     Collaborator: UMD
  • Testing the use of newly created GMT solar powered backpack transmitters on seabirds to reduce mortality, increase transmission time and quality, and reduce handling stress on seabirds.    Collaborators: USFWS, BOEM
  • Running a clinical trial comparing the epizootology of our current manual feeder system to a more computerized enclosed feeding system.    Collaborators: UMD, UMUC
  • Determined the electrosensory foraging capabilities of ruddy ducks.    Collaborators: University of Lethbridge, Smithsonian
  • Determine the impact of corticosterone levels on reproductive effort of common eiders.    Collaborators: University of Windsor, CWS
  • Determine the foraging values of an invasive species, Green Crab, and native species, Yellow shore Crab, for harlequin ducks.    Collaborator: UMD
  • Determine the digestibility of eelgrass seeds by wintering Lesser Scaup as a means of seed dispersal in the Chesapeake Bay.    Collaborators: VIMS, William and Mary
Scholarships & Grants:
  • McDowell Scholarship (May 1998) - University of Connecticut, Storrs 
  • Grant (May 1999 & 2000 – August 1999 & 2000) - Delta Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Foundation, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
  • Balander Avian Species Scholarship (July 2000) - Michigan State University
  • Travel Grant (October 2000) - Michigan State University
  • Grant (October 2003 – October 2007) - USGS Chesapeake Bay Program / Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
  • Grant (November 2006 & 2007) - Friends of Patuxent Wildlife Refuge and Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
  • Grant (November 2007) - Sea Duck Joint Venture
  • Grant (October 2010) - Ducks Unlimited
  • Grant (October 2011 – present) - USGS Chesapeake Bay Program
  • Grant (October 2012 – present) - USFWS Region 5 and BOEM
  • Grant (June 2013 – present) - USGS Hurricane Sandy Supplemental