Aarhus University Seal

Mark Johnson


Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Biology - Zoophysiology, Aarhus University, Denmark.

During his AIAS-COFUND fellowship Mark Johnson worked on the project 'From dinner to winner: How individual foraging performance determines success in marine megafauna'.

Project at AIAS

Ever more species face extinction due to changing climate or human encroachment. Insufficient food is often the proximal cause but why don't animals just work harder when resources are sparse? Predators rely on energy gained in brief encounters with prey to grow and reproduce. But observing predator-prey interactions is technically challenging for the large predators that shape marine ecosystems and it is unclear whether the density or quality of prey, or the capabilities of predators most constrain the energy gained from foraging. In this project, I will use unique high-resolution remote-sensing tags on whales, seals, and sharks to test how individuals cope with changing prey resources. The project draws on methods in engineering, ecology and computer science to interpret foraging interactions at an unprecedented resolution. The study species represent animals that mediate vast energy turnovers in the world's oceans and so influence marine food webs. Knowing what resources these predators need to thrive will pinpoint the potential impact of human activities and may help us manage vulnerable populations rather than discover they are at risk when it is already too late. 

Project title:

From dinner to winner: How individual foraging performance determines success in marine megafauna    

Area of research:

Animal biology    

Fellowship period:

1 Oct 2020 - 31 Mar 2022

Fellowship type

AIAS-COFUND II Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow

This fellowship has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 754513 and The Aarhus University Research Foundation.