Quantitative Ecologist - Sustainable Use of NW Marine Ecosystems
I study the demography and movement behaviour of marine megafauna (e.g. marine mammals, sea turtles, sharks) with an interest in both applied and theoretical questions in ecology. I am particularly interested in understanding the context and motivations surrounding movement from one place to another and linking animal movement with environmental factors. These questions are key to understanding how populations will respond to future environmental change. I typically work with data from animal-borne electronic devices, remotely-sensed environmental data and also survey data.

I started my working life as a zookeeper at Sydney's Taronga Zoo. I graduated with BSc Hons in 2000 and after working in a range of institutions (e.g. USyd, Australian Antarctic Division) for a few years I completed my PhD in 2009. My first postdoctoral research position was at the University of Western Australia Oceans Institute from 2010-2013 and I have been employed as a research scientist at AIMS since then.

1997-2000: BSc Hons (Class 1) Zoology/Ecology, University of Sydney, NSW, Australia

2004-2009: PhD Marine Ecology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Current Research Activities
The development and application of models describing and predicting the movement and distribution of marine megafauna in NW Western Australia marine ecosystems, including
  • Managing the Marine Megafauna Movement Synthesis Group - bringing animal movement data together for a global synthesis
  • Developing distribution and abundance models using a decade of survey data from humpback whales in the Kimberley region of Western Australia
  • Working with oceanographers, managers and industry to understand the dispersal of sea turtle hatchlings
  • Understanding the nesting and movement behaviour of sea turtles
Approximately 30 science and technical papers in international journals. The following are a selection of these.

Oh BL, Thums M, Babcock RC, Meeuwig JM, Pilans RD, Speed C, Meekan MG (In press) Contrasting patterns of residency and space use of coastal sharks within a communal shark nursery. Marine and Freshwater Research.

Irvine LG, Thums M, Hanson C, McMahon CR, Hindell MA (In press) The use of historical whaling records to examine and contrast energy stores of capital and income breeding humpback and sperm whales. Royal Society Open Science

Thums M, Waayers D, Zhi H, Pattiaratchi CB, Bernus J, Meekan MG (In press) Environmental predictors of foraging and transit behaviour in flatback turtles. Endangered Species Research.

Thums M, Whiting SD, Reisser J, Pendoley KL, Pattiaratchi CB, Proiettie M, Hetzel Y, Fisher R, Meekan MG (2016) Artificial light on water attracts turtle hatchlings during their nearshore transit. Royal Society Open Science 3:160142

van Lohuizen S, Rossendell J, Mitchell NJ, Thums M (2016) The effect of incubation temperatures on nest success of flatback sea turtles (Natator depressus). Marine Biology 163(7):150

Hays GC, Ferreira LC, Sequeira AMM, Meekan MG, Duarte C, Thums M & 26 others (2016) Key Questions in Marine Megafauna Movement Ecology. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 31(6): 463-475

Sequeira AMM, Thums M, Brooks K, Meekan MG (2016) Error and bias in size estimates of whale sharks: implications for understanding demography. Royal Society Open Science 3:150668

Ferreira LC, Thums M, Meeuwig JJ, Vianna GMS, Stevens J, McAuley R, Meekan MG (2015) Crossing Latitudes¿Long-Distance Tracking of an Apex Predator. PLoS ONE 10:e0116916

Reisser J, Shaw J, Hallegraeff G, Proietti M, Barnes DKA, Thums M, Wilcox C, Hardesty BD, Pattiaratchi C (2014) Millimeter-sized marine plastics: A new pelagic habitat for microorganisms and invertebrates. PLoS ONE 9(6): e100289

Thums M, Meekan MG, Stevens JD, Wilson S, Polovina J (2012) Evidence for behavioural thermoregulation by the world¿s largest fish. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2012.0477

Thums M, Bradshaw CJ, Hindell MA (2011) In-situ measures of foraging success and prey encounter reveal marine habitat dependent search strategies. Ecology 92(6):1258-1270

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