PhD Student


One of my research interests is understanding the biological processes of megafauna in relation to their life history, environment and behavior. Only after we gain an understanding of these underlying processes can we investigate how anthropogenic activities may influence them. My PhD
project aims to quantify the bioenergetic demands of humpback whales migrating between their Alaskan foraging grounds and their Hawaiian breeding grounds.


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In August, Martin van Aswegen will become a PhD Student in the Marine Biology Graduate Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Having the privilege of growing up near marine hotspots in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, Martin has developed a strong passion for applied research and scientific communication, with the aim of contributing the information and inspiration critical to conserving threatened marine fauna. Martin completed his undergraduate degree and Honours thesis at Murdoch University (Australia) and has gained over five years of international marine mammal research experience. In recent years, Martin has merged his two main passions - ecological research and wildlife photography, to specialize in non-invasive photogrammetry (measuring wildlife using photographs).





. Currie, J.J., van Aswegen, M., Stack, S.H., West, K., Vivier, F. and Bejder, L. 2021.  Rapid weight loss in free ranging pygmy killer whales (Feresa attenuata): implications for anthropogenic disturbance of odontocetes. Scientific Reports. 11:8181


. van Aswegen, M., Christiansen, F., Symons, J., Mann, J., Nicholson, K., Sprogis, K., & Bejder, L. 2019. Morphological differences between coastal bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) populations identified using non-invasive stereo-laser photogrammetry. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 12235. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-48419-3