Research Interests:

I have been studying seabirds and cetaceans since 1976, and marine turtles and flyingfish since 1986. My interests include biogeography, foraging ecology, evolutionary biology, and general ecology. I spend between 6 and 8 months each year in the field, mostly at sea in pelagic ecosystems, on research vessels of all kinds. These have taken me to the tropical Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans, Antarctic waters, and the Bering Sea. Currently my main interest is Antarctic killer whale ecology and systematics.

Selected Publications:

Morin, P. A., F. I. Archer, A. D. Foote, M. Thomas, P. Gilbert, E. E. Allen, P. Wade, J. Durban, K. Parsons, R. Pitman, L. Li, P. Bouffard, J. Vilstrup, S. A. Nielsen, E. Willerslev and T. Harkins. (In press). Complete mitochondrial genome analysis of killer whales (Orcinus orca) indicates multiple species. Genome Research.

Durban, J., D. Ellifrit, M. Dahlheim, J. Waite, C. Matkin, L. Barrett-Lennard, G. Ellis, R. L. Pitman, R. LeDuc and P. Wade. (In press). Photographic mark-recapture analysis of clustered mammal-eating killer whales around the Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska. Marine Biology.

Feeney, R. F., R. J. Lavenberg, and R. L. Pitman. 2010. Description of a larval Liopropoma (Actinopterygii: Epinephelidae) from the Gulf of California. Ciencias Marinas. 36:83-89.

Peavey, L., B. Pitman, S. Benson, J. Harvey, B. Watson, T. Graham, and K. Kopitsky. 2010. Big eyes, big boats and home videos: studying sea turtles at sea. SWOT Report 5:9-12.

Pitman, R. L., and J. W. Durban. 2009. Save the seal! Natural History Magazine Nov 2009:48.

Pitman, R.L. 2009. Mesoplodont whales (Mesoplodon spp.). Pages 721-726 in: Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, Second Edition. W.F. Perrin, B. Würsig and J.G.M. Thewissen (eds.) Elsevier, San Diego.

Pitman, R.L. 2009. Indo-Pacific beaked whale (Indopacetus pacificus). Pages 600-602 in: Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals, Second Edition. W.F. Perrin, B. Würsig and J.G.M. Thewissen (eds.) Elsevier, San Diego.

Pitman, R.L. 2009. Book review: Albatross. Their world, their ways. Wilson Bulletin 121(1):217-218.

Weimerskirch, H. M. Le Corre, C.A. Bost, L.T. Ballance, and R.L. Pitman. 2009. L’avifaune et l’écologie des oiseaux marin. Pages 381-392 in: Clipperton, environnement et biodiversité d’un microcosme océanique. L. Charpy (ed.). Patrimones Naturels 68. MNHN, Paris; IRD, Marseille.

Pitman, R.L. 2008. Killer snowballs. Natural History December 2008/January 2009:56.

Andrews, R.D., R.L. Pitman and L.T. Ballance. 2008. Satellite tracking reveals distinct movement patterns for Type B and Type C killer whales in the southern Ross Sea, Antarctica. Polar Biology 31:1461-1468.

Krahn, M.M., R.L. Pitman, D.G. Burrows, D.P. Herman, and R.W. Pearce. 2008. Use of chemical tracers to assess diet and persistent organic pollutants in Antarctic Type C killer whales. Marine Mammal Science 24(3):643-663.

LeDuc, R.G., K.M. Robertson, and R.L. Pitman. 2008. Mitochondrial sequence divergence among Antarctic killer whale ecotypes is consistent with multiple species. Biology Letters 4:426-429.

Zhao, X., J. Barlow, B. L. Taylor, R. Pitman, K. Wang, Z. Wei, B. S. Stewart, S. T. Turvey, T. Akamatsu, R. R. Reeves, and D. Wang. 2008. Abundance and conservation status of the Yangtze finless porpoise in the Yangtze River, China. Biological Conservation 141:3006-3018.

Eguchi, T. T. Gerrodette, R.L. Pitman, J.A. Seminoff, and P.H. Dutton. 2007. At-sea density and abundance estimates of the olive ridley turtle Lepidochelys olivacea in the eastern tropical Pacific. Endangered Species Research 3:191-203.

Jefferson, T.A., M. A. Webber, and R. L. Pitman. 2007. Marine Mammals of the World. Academic Press, San Diego, CA. 573 pp.

Pitman, R.L. and L. Rojas-Bracho. 2007. How Now, Little Cow? Natural History July/August:28-32.

Pitman, R.L., W.L. Perryman, D. LeRoi, and E. Eilers. 2007. A dwarf form of killer whale in Antarctica. Journal of Mammalogy 88(1):43-48.

Pitman, R.L. 2006. A fellow mammal leaves the planet. New York Times, 26 December.

Pitman, R.L. 2006. Killer Whale. Pages 570-572 in: Encyclopedia of the Antarctic, Beau Riffenburgh (ed.), Routledge: New York.

Pitman, R.L. 2006. Mom’s the word. Sea Stories, Autumnal Issue.

Pitman, R.L., A. L. van Helden, P.B. Best, and A. Pym. 2006. Shepherd’s Beaked Whale (Tasmacetus shepherdi): information on appearance and biology based on strandings and at-sea observations. Marine Mammal Science 22(3):744-755.

Pitman, R.L., L.T. Ballance, and C. Bost. 2005. Clipperton Island: Pig sty, rat hole and booby prize. Marine Ornithology 33:193-194.

Pitman, R.L. and P.H. Dutton. 2004. Killer whale predation on a leatherback turtle in the northeast Pacific. Pacific Science 58(3):497-498.

Pitman, R.L., W.A. Walker, W.T. Everett, and J.P. Gallo-Reynoso. 2004. Population status, foods and foraging of Laysan Albatrosses Phoebastria immutabilis, nesting on Guadalupe Island, Mexico. Marine Ornithology 32:159-165.

Pitman, R.L. 2003. Good whale hunting. Natural History December 2003/January 2004:24-28.

Pitman, R.L. and P. Ensor. 2003. Three forms of killer whales in Antarctic waters. Journal of Cetacean Research and Management 5(2):131-139.

Pitman, R.L., S. O’Sullivan, and B. Mase. 2003. Killer whales (Orcinus orca) attack a school of pantropical spotted dolphins (Stenella attenuata) in the Gulf of Mexico. Aquatic Mammals 29(3):321-324.

Pitman, R.L. 2002. Alive and whale: a missing species of whale resurfaces in the tropics. Natural History 111(7):32-36.

Pitman, R.L. 2002. Mesoplont whales (Mesoplodon spp.). Pages 738-742 in: Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. W.F. Perrin, B. Würsig and J.G.M. Thewissen (eds.) Academic Press, San Diego.

Pitman, R.L. 2002. Indo- Pacific Beaked Whale (Indopacetus pacificus). Pages 615-617 in: Encyclopedia of Marine Mammals. W.F. Perrin, B. Würsig and J.G.M. Thewissen (eds.) Academic Press, San Diego.

Pitman, R.L. and L.T. Ballance. 2002. The changing status of marine birds breeding at San Benedicto Island, Mexico. Wilson Bulletin 114(1):11-19.

Pitman, R. L. and C. Stinchcomb. 2002. Rough-toothed dolphins (Steno bredanensis) as predators of mahimahi (Coryphaena hippurus). Pacific Science 56(4):447-450.

Pitman, R.L. and M. S. Lynn. 2001. Biological observations of an unidentified mesoplodont whale in the eastern tropical Pacific and probable identity: Mesoplodon peruvianus. Marine Mammal Science 17(3):648-657.

Pitman, R.L., L.T. Ballance, S. L. Mesnick, and S. J. Chivers. 2001. Killer whale predation on sperm whales: observations and implications. Marine Mammal Science 17(3):494-507.

Pitman, R.L., D.M. Palacios, P.L.R. Brennan, B.J. Brennan, K.C. Balcomb, and P. Miyashita. 1999. Sightings and possible identity of a bottlenose whale in the tropical Indo-Pacific: Indopacetus pacificus? Marine Mammal Science 15:531-549.

Pitman, R.L. and S.J. Chivers. 1998/1999. Terror in black and white. Natural History 107:26-29.

Pitman, R.L. and J.R. Jehl. 1998. Geographic variation and reassessment of species limits in “Masked” Boobies of the eastern Pacific. Wilson Bulletin 110:155-170.

Pitman, R.L. 1996. Almost atoll. Natural History 105:60-64.

Pitman, R.L., L.B. Spear, and M.P. Force. 1995. The marine birds of Malpelo Island, Colombia. Colonial Waterbirds 18:113-119.

Pitman, R.L. 1993. Seabird associations with marine turtles in the eastern Pacific. Colonial Waterbirds 16(2):194-201.

Pitman, R.L., and L.T. Ballance. 1992. Parkinson's Petrel distribution and foraging ecology in the eastern Pacific: Aspects of an exclusive feeding relationship with dolphins. Condor 94:825-835.

Pitman, R.L., and L.T. Ballance. 1990. Daytime feeding by Leach's Storm-Petrel on a midwater fish in the eastern tropical Pacific. Condor 92:524-527.

Contact Information:
Phone: (858) 546-7092
Fax: (858) 546-7003

Robert W. Schmieder, PhD
4295 Walnut Blvd.
Walnut Creek, California 94596 USA

(925) 934-3735 (voice and fax)
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Copyright © 2012 Robert W. Schmieder All rights reseved. Last update: Thursday, October 11, 2012