Aaron Kirkpatrick, PhD Candidate



Aaron grew up in Coleraine, Northern Ireland and completed his undergraduate degree in Marine Science at the University of Ulster. After graduating Aaron moved to Vancouver, BC and began volunteering at the Vancouver Aquarium. He was a member of the marine mammal rescue team and was involved in rehabilitating harbor seals and with the extensive rehabilitation of a juvenile harbor porpoise. Aaron moved on to spend three months volunteering with Cetacea Lab on a remote island in northern British Columbia studying humpback, fin and killer whales. In 2013 Aaron was selected as a UK Fulbright postgraduate scholar and moved to Miami to undertake a masters in marine mammal science at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. For his masters work Aaron used sperm whale acoustic data provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to generate a population estimate for the Gulf of Mexico. Aaron joined the Trumble lab in the Fall of 2015 to pursue a PhD in Biology.

Aaron’s PhD research is focused on the physiology of elephant seals in Ana Neuvo, California.  Collaborating with Dr. Crocker (Sonoma State) & Dr. Kanatous (Colorado State), Aaron is investigating fatty acid composition of elephant seal blubber and muscle, the transport and binding proteins associated with these samples and finally the mechanisms behind the transport of stores of fatty acids from blubber to muscle.

Aaron is also leading two further research projects within the LEAP lab, firstly the investigation of the potential use of a DEXA machine as a tool for the accurate aging of a high stranding species, the harbor porpoise.  Secondly, the investigation of stress levels in harbor seals during a controlled diet variation through analysis of scat samples.


Contact: A_Kirkpatrick@baylor.edu