Prof. Nicole Thometz

Nicole Thometz

Assistant Professor

Full-Time Faculty

(415) 422-4083 Harney Science Center 219H


Dr. Nicole Thometz is a broadly trained physiological ecologist who specializes in marine mammal physiology, ecology, and behavior. She has spent her career studying the ontogeny of energy demands, development of diving capacities, reproductive energetics, and foraging behavior of southern sea otters.

In addition, Dr. Thometz has studied the physiology and behavior of Weddell seals in the Antarctic, the metabolic demands and diving capacities of Hawaiian monk seals, and the physiology of sound producing muscles in a variety of odontocete species. Currently, a main focus of her lab's research is examining the physiological requirements and diving capacities of ice-dependent Arctic seals. This research program aims to better understand the sensitivity and/or resilience of ringed, bearded, and spotted seals to ongoing sea ice loss and environmental change in the Arctic.

PhD, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, UC Santa Cruz, 2014
BS, Biology, University of Portland, 2008
Selected Publications

Thometz, N.M., Dearolf, J.L., Dunkin, R.C., Noren, D.P., Holt, M.M., Sims, O.C., Cathey, B.C., and Williams, T.M. (2017). "Comparative Physiology of Vocal Musculature in Two Odontocetes, the Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and the Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena).” Journal of Comparative Physiology B. doi: 10.1007/s00360-017-1106-5.

Noren, D.P., Holt, M.M., Dunkin, R.C., Thometz, N.M., Williams, T.M. (2016). “Comparative and Cumulative Energetic Costs of Odontocete Responses to Anthropogenic Disturbance.” Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. Acoustical Society of America, 27, 1-12. doi: 10.1121/2.0000357.

Thometz, N.M., Kendall, T., Richter, B., Williams, T.M. (2016). “The High Cost of Reproduction in Sea Otters Necessitates Unique Physiological Adaptations.” The Journal of Experimental Biology, 219(15), 2260-2264. doi: 10.1242/jeb.138891.

Thometz, N.M., Staedler, M.M., Tomoleoni, J.A., Bodkin, J., Bentall, G., Tinker, M.T. (2016). “Trade-Offs Between Energy Maximization and Parental Care in a Central Place Forager, the Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris).” Behavioral Ecology, 27(5), 1552-1566. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arw089.

Thometz, N.M., Williams, T.M., and Murray, M.J. (2015). “Ontogeny of Oxygen Storage Capacity and Diving Ability in Southern Sea Otters (Enhydra lutris nereis): Costs and Benefits of Large Lungs.” Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, 88(3), 311-327. doi: 10.1086/681019.

Williams, T.M., Fuiman, L.A., Kendall, T., Berry, P., Richter, B., Noren, S.R., Thometz, N.M., Shattock, M.J., Farrell, E., Stamper, A.M., Davis, R.W. (2015). “Exercise at Depth Alters Bradycardia and Incidence of Cardiac Anomalies in Deep-Diving Marine Mammals.” Nature Communications, 6. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7055.

Thometz, N.M., Tinker, M.T., Staedler, M.M., Mayer, K.A. and Williams, T.M. (2014). “Energetic Demands of Immature Sea Otters from Birth to Weaning: Implications for Maternal Costs, Reproductive Behavior, and Population-Level Trends.” The Journal of Experimental Biology, 217(12), 2053-2061. doi: 10.1242/jeb.099739.