About the Lab

The ShAPE Lab is in the Biological Sciences Department at San Jose State University.  Our primary focus is to understand how seabirds interact with their marine environment in ways that shape their ecology, physiology, and life history evolution.  We use a variety of biologging methods to monitor behavior and sense the environment.  More information about our research objectives can be found by reading lab member profiles, reviewing ShAPE Lab publications, or checking out the photo gallery.
Red-tailed tropicbird photographed off O'ahu, Hawaii by Olivia Townsend (c) 2016

Example research projects

Biologging devices like the data logger encapsulated within an artificial egg (shown in photo below) can be used to understand egg attendance behaviors like egg turning and incubation temperature (below left) in wild birds.
Roll, pitch, yaw, and temperature of egg in the nest of a Laysan albatross from Shaffer et al. (2014) PLoS ONE
Artificial snow petrel egg logger equipped with triaxial accelerometer and magnetometer, and temperature thermistor. See Shaffer et al. (2021) Animal Biotelemetry
Miniature (40 grams) biologging devices like that deployed on the 2.5 kg Laysan albatross shown in photo, can record the bird’s location and movement patterns at sea.  The device is temporarily attached with adhesive tape to the feathers on the bird’s back.  The logger is removed when the bird returns from its foraging trip.  The tracking data can be viewed in relation to vessels at sea to explore albatross-fisheries interactions.  See Orben et al. (2021) Journal of Applied Ecology.
Laysan albatross with GPS logger on the back. Photo by S. Shaffer