Lorrie Rea

  • Research Professor
  • Marine Ecotoxicology and Trophic Assessment Laboratory (METAL)
  • Phone: (907) 474-7572
  • Fax: (907) 474-7041
  • 342 ELIF
  • ldrea@alaska.edu
Professional Affiliations

Research Interest

Our research currently focuses with our collaborators on mercury concentrations and stable isotope signatures in seals and sea lions and their prey to help understand how heavy metals move within ecosystems and how they may impact conservation of piscivorous marine mammal species. We also focus on assessment of diet composition using stable isotopes, body condition and general health assessment of marine wildlife, and adaptive biochemistry and metabolism in fasting marine mammals.

Current Research

Ocean Peace Research Partnership III
L.D. Rea. $300,000. Ocean Peace, Inc. through the UA Foundation. January 2021 – December 2022

Phocid whisker stable isotopes

L.D. Rea $82,000. NOAA NFFS7300-20-02650 (contract 1305M320PNFFS0633). September 2020-September 2021

Collaborative Research: Mercury dynamics from the Holocene to the Anthropocene: Tracking Aleutian mercury in ocean species important to Native Alaskan diets
J.P. Avery, N. Misarti, L.D. Rea and C.L. Funk. $2,621,196. National Science Foundation, Office of Polar Programs, Arctic System Science and Arctic Social Science. May 2020 – December 2024

Ocean Peace Research Partnership II

L.D. Rea. $300,000. Ocean Peace, Inc. through the UA Foundation. January 2020 – December 2021

A novel coupling of isotopic approaches to identify pathways of methylmercury through marine food-webs of the Aleutians

B. Barst (PI), M. Wooller, L.D. Rea (Co-I), and T.M. O’Hara. North Pacific Research Board $437,997. September 2019 – August 2022

Modeling diet composition of adult female Steller sea lions from the western and central Aleutian Islands

L.D. Rea (PI), T. O’Hara, B. Taras and M. Wooller. $1,016,733. NOAA 2019 Alaska Pinniped Research Program (NOAA-NMFS-AK-2019- 2005923). July 2019 – June 2022

Methane in the Marine Environment: Sources and Potential Adverse Effects (Marine Methane Fellowship)

T.M. O’Hara, J. Guerard, L.D. Rea, S. Aggarwal. $290,000. Hilcorp Alaska, LLC. January 2019- December 2021

Past Projects

Wildlife health and contaminant levels on St. Paul Island, AK
L.D. Rea. $54,079.00 NIH BLaST Program, UAF. September 2017 – June 2019

Tracing pathways of mercury exposure to Alaska pinnipeds in the Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea
L.D. Rea (PI), T. O’Hara (Co-I), M. Wooller (Co-I), B. Taras (Co-I). $1,121,891. NOAA 2016 Alaska Pinniped Research Program (NOAA-NMFS-AK-2016-2004624). July 2016 – June 2019.

Adverse effects of contaminants in Steller sea lions: Immune and Oxidative Stress Status
T.M. O’Hara (PI), L.D. Rea (Co-PI), T. Kuhn (Co-I), T. Zenteno-Savin (Consultant). $546,291. NOAA 2016 Alaska Pinniped Research Program (NOAA-NMFS-AK-2016-2004624). July 2016 – June 2019

Are contaminant concentrations in young Steller sea lions in the Western Aleutian Islands associated with altered endocrine and immune systems?
R. Small (PI), M. Keogh (Co-I and Project Manager), S. Karpovich (Co-I), M. Levin (Co-I), T.M. O’Hara (Co-I), L.D. Rea (Co-I), J. Maniscalco (Co-I). $839,080. NOAA 2016 Alaska Pinniped Research Program funding to ADF&G (NOAA-NMFS-AK-2016-2004624). April 2016- July 2019

Foraging movements and diving behavior of “resident”-type killer whales in the western and central Aleutian Islands – are killer whales competing with Steller sea lions and commercial fisheries as an important consumer of Atka mackerel?
L.D. Rea (PI) and P.R. Wade (Co-I). $99,717. Pollock Conservation Cooperative Research Center (PCCRC) at University of Alaska Fairbanks. April 2016 – March 2019.


  • 1995 Doctor of Philosophy, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska
    Dissertation title: Prolonged fasting in Pinnipeds. Chair: Dr. Michael A. Castellini
  • 1990 Master’s of Science, University of California, Santa Cruz, California.
    Thesis title: Changes in resting metabolic rate during long-term fasting in
    northern elephant seal pups (Mirounga angustirostris). Chair: Dr. Daniel P. Costa
  • 1987 Bachelor of Science (Honors Marine Biology), University of Guelph, Guelph,
    Ontario, Canada.
  • Research Professor, Institute of Northern Engineering, Water and Environmental Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775 (July 2017 to present)
  • Research Associate Professor, Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775 (Sept 2013 to present)
  • Wildlife Physiologist III (previously Program Leader, Wildlife Biologist IV and Wildlife Biologist III), Steller Sea Lion Research Program, Marine Mammals Section, Division of Wildlife Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Fairbanks, AK 99701 (August 2000 to Sept 2013)

Recent Refereed Publications

(* denotes graduate student author)

Doll, A.C., B.D. Taras, C.A. Stricker, L.D. Rea, T.M. O’Hara, A.P. Cyr, S. Mcdermott, T.M. Loomis, M.B. Wunder. In press. Temporal records of diet diversity dynamics in individual adult female Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) vibrissae. Oecologia. Accepted 21 May 2018.

Kennedy*, S.N., J.M. Castellini, A.R. Hayden, B.S. Fadely, V. Burkanov, T.M. O’Hara, and L.D. Rea. Haptoglobin concentrations in Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) from Alaska and Russia: regional, demographic and environmental drivers. In press, Journal of Wildlife Disease. Accepted 25 March 2018.

Lian*, M., S. Johnson, T.S. Gelatt, T.M. O’Hara, K.B. Beckmen, and L.D. Rea. 2018. Field anesthesia of juvenile Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) using inhalation anesthesia. Marine Mammal Science 34(1):125–135, DOI: 10.1111/mms.12445

Rehberg, M.J., L.D. Rea, and C.A. Eischens. 2018. Overwintering Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) pup growth and behavior prior to weaning. Can. J. Zool.96: 97–106 dx.doi.org/cjz-2016-0296

O’Hara, T.M., K. Hueffer, M. Murphy, J.M. Castellini, Y. Li, L.D. Rea, J. Berner. 2017. Developing a Sentinel-based Baja California Sur Rural Mexico Monitoring Program (BCS RMMP): Lessons learned from Alaska. Recursos Naturales y Sociedad 3(2):12-31. (http://www.cibnor.gob.mx/revista-rns/iindex.html#), ISSN number 2448-7406.

Rea, L.D., B.S. Fadely, S.D. Farley, J.P. Avery, W.S. Dunlap-Harding, V. Stegall, C.A.B. Eischens, T.S. Gelatt and K.W. Pitcher. 2016. Comparing total body lipid content of young-of-the-year Steller sea lions between areas of contrasting population trends. Marine Mammal Science. 32(4):1200-1218 DOI:10.1111/mms.12327

Pendleton, G. W., K. K. Hastings, L. D. Rea, L. A. Jemison, G. M. O’Corry-Crowe, and K. B. Beckmen. 2016. Short-term survival of Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) pups: Investigating the effect of health status on survival. Marine Mammal Science. 32(3):931-944. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12308

Peterson*, S.H., E.A. McHuron*, S.N. Kennedy*, J.T. Ackerman, L.D. Rea, J.M. Castellini, T.M. O'Hara, and D.P. Costa. 2016. Evaluating hair as a predictor of blood mercury: the influence of ontogenetic phase and life history in pinnipeds. Archives of Environmental Contaminants Toxicology. Special Issue: New Developments and Perspectives in Marine Mammal Toxicology. 70:28-45. DOI 10.1007/s00244-015-0174-3.

Scherer, R.D., A.C. Doll*, L.D. Rea, A.M. Christ, C.A. Stricker, B. Witteveen, T. C. Kline, C.M. Kurle, and M.B. Wunder. 2015. Isotope values in pup whiskers reveal geographic variation in diets of gestating Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Marine Ecology Progress Series 527:261-274.

Stricker, C.A., A.M. Christ, M.B. Wunder, A.C. Doll*, S.D. Farley, L.D. Rea, D.A.S. Rosen, R.D. Scherer, and D.J. Tollit. 2015. Carbon and nitrogen isotope discrimination for Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) vibrissae relative to milk and fish/invertebrate diets. Marine Ecology Progress Series 523:255-266.

Rea, L.D., A.M. Christ, A.B. Hayden, V.K. Stegall*, S.D. Farley, C.A. Stricker, J.E. Mellish, J.M. Maniscalco, J.N. Waite, V. Burkanov, K.W. Pitcher. 2015. Age-specific vibrissae growth rates: A tool for determining the timing of ecologically important events in Steller sea lions. Marine Mammal Science 31(3):1213-1233. DOI: 10.1111/mms.12221