Daniel Esler, Ph.D.
Wildlife ecology and conservation, nearshore marine systems, population biology and demography, population structure and delineation, habitat associations, foraging and trophic interactions, energetics, ecotoxicology.
Ph.D. 2000 Oregon State University Wildlife Science
M.S. 1988 Texas A&M University Wildlife Ecology
B.S. 1985 Northland College Biology/Outdoor Education
2013 - Present Research Wildlife Biologist, USGS Alaska Science Center
2001 - 2013 Research Scientist, Centre for Wildlife Ecology, Simon Fraser University, Delta, British Columbia
1990 - 2001 Research Wildlife Biologist, USGS/US Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Biological Science Center/Alaska Fish and Wildlife Research Center, Anchorage, Alaska
1989 - 1990 Biological Technician, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Alaska Fish and Wildlife Research Center, Anchorage, Alaska
1989 Wildlife Technician, Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, Okeechobee, Florida
Professional Activities and/or Memberships
Adjunct Professor – Simon Fraser University
Board of Directors – Pacific Wildlife Foundation
The Wildlife Society
Pacific Seabird Group
Science and Products
Timelines and mechanisms of wildlife population recovery following the Exxon Valdez oil spill
Research and monitoring activities over the 28 years since the T/V Exxon Valdez ran aground and spilled oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska have led to an improved understanding of how wildlife populations were damaged, as well as the mechanisms and timelines of recovery. A key finding was that for some species, such as harlequin ducks...Esler, Daniel N.; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Matkin, Craig O.; Cushing, Daniel; Kaler, Robert; Bodkin, James L.; Monson, Daniel; Esslinger, George; Kloecker, Kim
Attaching transmitters to waterbirds using one versus two subcutaneous anchors: Retention and survival trade-offs
A major challenge of wildlife telemetry is choosing an attachment technique that maximizes transmitter retention while minimizing negative side effects. For waterbirds, attachment of transmitters with subcutaneous anchors has been an effective and well-established technique, having been used on >40 species. This method was recently modified to...Lewis, Tyler; Esler, Daniel N.; Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Dickson, Rian D.; Anderson, Eric M.; Evenson, Joseph R.; Hupp, Jerry; Flint, Paul L.
Variation in abundance of Pacific Blue Mussel (Mytilus trossulus) in the Northern Gulf of Alaska, 2006–2015
Mussels are conspicuous and ecologically important components of nearshore marine communities around the globe. Pacific blue mussels (Mytilus trossulus) are common residents of intertidal habitats in protected waters of the North Pacific, serving as a conduit of primary production to a wide range of nearshore consumers including predatory...Bodkin, James L.; Coletti, Heather A.; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Monson, Daniel; Esler, Daniel N.; Dean, Thomas A.
Gene transcription patterns in response to low level petroleum contaminants in Mytilus trossulus from field sites and harbors in southcentral Alaska
The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill damaged a wide range of natural resources, including intertidal communities, and post-spill studies demonstrated acute and chronic exposure and injury to an array of species. Standard toxicological methods to evaluate petroleum contaminants have assessed tissue burdens, with fewer assays providing...Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Waters, Shannon C.; Bodkin, James L.; Lindeberg, Mandy; Esler, Daniel N.
Cessation of oil exposure in harlequin ducks after the Exxon Valdez oil spill: Cytochrome P4501A biomarker evidence
The authors quantified hepatic hydrocarbon-inducible cytochrome P4501A (CYP1A) expression, as ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity, in wintering harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) captured in Prince William Sound, Alaska (USA), during 2011, 2013, and 2014 (22–25 yr following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill). Average EROD activity...Esler, Daniel N.; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Dickson, Rian D.; Henderson, John D.
Spatial variation in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in Barrow's goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) in coastal British Columbia
Barrow's goldeneyes are sea ducks that winter throughout coastal British Columbia (BC). Their diet consists primarily of intertidal blue mussels, which can accumulate PAHs; accordingly, goldeneyes may be susceptible to exposure through contaminated prey. In 2014/15, we examined total PAH concentrations in mussels from undeveloped and developed...Willie, Megan; Esler, Daniel N.; Boyd, W. Sean; Molloy, Philip; Ydenberg, Ronald C.
Interacting effects of latitude, mass, age, and sex on winter survival of Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata): Implications for differential migration
We quantified variation in winter survival of Surf Scoters (Melanitta perspicillata (L., 1758)) across nearly 30° of latitude on the Pacific coast of North America to evaluate potential effects on winter distributions, including observed differential distributions of age and sex classes. We monitored fates of 297 radio-marked Surf Scoters at...Uher-Koch, Brian D.; Esler, Daniel N.; Iverson, Samuel A.; Ward, David; Boyd, Sean; Kirk, Molly; Lewis, Tyler L.; VanStratt, Corey S.; Brodhead, Katherine M.; Hupp, Jerry; Schmutz, Joel A.
Long-term monitoring program: Evaluating chronic exposure of harlequin ducks and sea otters to lingering Exxon Valdez Oil in Western Prince William Sound
We found that average cytochrome P4501A induction (as measured by EROD activity) during March 2014 was not elevated in wintering harlequin ducks captured in areas of Prince William Sound oiled by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, relative to those captured in unoiled areas. This result is consistent with findings from March 2013. We interpret these...Esler, Daniel N.; Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Ballachey, Brenda E.; Bodkin, James L.
Variability within nearshore ecosystems of the Gulf of Alaska
Nearshore marine habitats, which represent the interface among air, land and sea, form a critical component of the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) ecosystem. As an interface, the nearshore facilitates transfer of water, nutrients and biota between terrestrial and oceanic systems, creating zones of high productivity. The nearshore provides a variety of...Ballachey, Brenda E.; Bodkin, James L.; Coletti, Heather A.; Dean, Thomas A; Esler, Daniel N.; Esslinger, George; Iken, Katrin; Kloecker, Kim; Konar, Brenda; Lindeberg, Mandy; Monson, Daniel; Shepherd, Marnie; Weitzman, Ben P.
Monitoring population status of sea otters (Enhydra lutris) in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska: options and considerations
After many decades of absence from southeast Alaska, sea otters (Enhydra lutris) are recolonizing parts of their former range, including Glacier Bay, Alaska. Sea otters are well known for structuring nearshore ecosystems and causing community-level changes such as increases in kelp abundance and changes in the size and number of other consumers....Esslinger, George; Esler, Daniel N.; Howlin, S.; Starcevich, L.A.
Ecology and conservation of North American sea ducks
The past decade has seen a huge increase in the interest and attention directed toward sea ducks, the Mergini tribe. This has been inspired, in large part, by the conservation concerns associated with numerical declines in several sea duck species and populations, as well as a growing appreciation for their interesting ecological attributes....Savard, Jean-Pierre L.; Derksen, Dirk V.; Esler, Daniel N.; Eadie, John M.
Conclusions, synthesis, and future directions: understanding sources of population change
The material in this volume reflects the burgeoning interest in sea ducks, both as study species with compelling and unique ecological attributes and as taxa of conservation concern. In this review, we provide perspective on the current state of sea duck knowledge by highlighting key findings in the preceding chapters that are of particular value...Esler, Daniel N.; Flint, Paul L.; Derksen, Dirk V.; Savard, Jean-Pierre L.; Eadie, John M.