Introducing a new Editorial Board member – Leszek Karczmarski

I am delighted to join the Editorial Board of Journal of Zoology.

Leszek KarczmarskiI am currently affiliated with the University of Hong Kong, where I established a cetacean ecology research group (, initially based at Swire Institute of Marine Science and currently in the process of becoming an independent research organisation, Cetacea Research Institute.  I moved to Hong Kong just over eight years ago from South Africa where I was the head of the University of Pretoria’s Whale Unit, based in Cape Town. Prior to that, I spent several months in Japan as a visiting scholar at Kyoto University, and several years post-doc’ing in the USA, at Texas Institute of Oceanography and Texas A&M University, with my field research based primarily at the remote atolls of western Hawaii. My earlier scientific endeavor, my Ph.D. research, was conducted in South Africa in mid-1990s and was among the first field-based ecological studies of coastal delphinids in this part of the world.  My Master’s research took place in the Netherlands and all the earlier university training in my native Poland.

My research focuses primarily on coastal and semi-pelagic delphinids, although currently it includes also large terrestrial mammals as a comparative model system. My personal interests revolve around population ecology and social strategies of group-living mammals, whilst my research group explores topics that range from behavioural biology and socio-ecology to modelling of population parameters and demographic processes, quantitative population ecology, habitat use and spatial ecology, as well as population genetics, application of new techniques in field studies of marine mammals (especially cetaceans), and application of behavioural ecology in conservation and marine protected area design.

Using quantitative modelling techniques, my students/colleagues and I investigate socio-demographic processes and ecological viability of species and populations in the context of environmental change.  We quantify and model socio-spatial dynamics, population structure and connectivity, demographic parameters and trends, and habitat relationships of free-ranging cetaceans, and construct individual-based models to project the likely trajectories of their population-level responses to anthropogenic pressures, habitat fragmentation and environmental stochasticity.  We apply remote sensing and spatially-explicit models to quantify patterns of range use and habitat selection; and with the incorporation of mark-recapture models, behavioural parameters and genetic data, we quantify daily lives of individuals to compute behavioural patterns that typify populations.  We use stable isotopes to investigate ontogenic dietary shifts and decadal history of the coastal environment archived in the biochemistry of cetacean teeth.  With the application of long-duration acoustic recordings, we map coastal soundscapes and investigate spatiotemporal patterns of cetacean use of their natural environment and their responses to human activities. Such a multi-faceted approach not only advances science at large but also makes our work directly applicable to environmental management. Given this background, I look forward to contributing my experience and my passion for research in support of this excellent journal.

Leszek Karczmarski

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