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Bec McIntosh

Our Team

Dr. Rebecca McIntosh: Marine Scientist with Phillip Island Nature Parks (PINP) since 2013. Rebecca has worked on the ecology and demography of marine predators for over 20 years, with a focus on Australian seals. Her areas of interest extend into marine protected species conservation with over 30 peer-reviewed publications. Rebecca’s research experience includes remote offshore islands and currently, she is researching fur seals as sentinel species of ocean change. Projects include ecosystem-scale research to monitor changes in population size and foraging ecology, and the mitigation of threatening processes. Specific research includes investigations into: foraging behaviour and diet using satellite linked tracking devices; health, ecotoxicity and stress; disease influence on abortion and pup survival; and marine plastic. Human behaviour change programs have been implemented to reduce plastic inputs to the ocean. Rebecca is a licensed drone pilot, investigating remote systems and citizen science to study fur seal populations without disturbance. The seal research team “Seals as Ecosystem Sentinels” won the 2020 Victorian Marine and Coastal Awards under the – Distinction in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Conservation category. Rebecca has an honorary appointment at the Sydney School of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney. See Google Scholar, Research Gate and PINP website for further details.

Current projects

  • Health and disease in Australian fur seals
  • Ecotoxicology and pollutants
  • Diet of Australian and Long-nosed fur seals
  • Diving and foraging behaviour
  • Climate change and breeding habitat loss
  • Marine plastic ingestion and entanglement
  • Stress and behavioural responses of seals to boats at Seal Rocks
  • Citizen Science and drones to monitor fur seal populations

Current post graduate students and fellows

  • Brett Gardner. Surveillance for Coxiella, Mycoplasma and Brucella as potential etiological agents of abortion in Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus) in Victoria. (PhD, University of Melbourne. Rebecca McIntosh, Jasmin Hufschmid, Glenn Browning, Michael Lynch, Marc Marenda, Andrew Stent & John Arnould)
  • Sarah-Lena Reinhold. Predator-prey relationships between long nosed fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) and little penguins (Eudyptula minor). (PhD, University of Adelaide and SARDI – Aquatic Sciences. Rebecca McIntosh, Simon Goldsworthy & Sean Connell)
  • Jessalyn Taylor. A multidisciplinary approach to assess the impacts of anthropogenic noise on Australian fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus doriferus): soundscape, behaviour and stress hormone concentrations as key factors. (PhD, University of Sydney. Rebecca McIntosh, Rachael Gray & Isabelle Charrier)
  • Adam Yaney-Keller. Disentangling the long-term effects marine debris on Australian fur seals. (PhD, Monash University. Richard Reina, Rebecca McIntosh, Rohan Clarke).

Selected recent publications (see full in Research Gate)