Ecological Society of America names Dan Costa a lifetime fellow

Dan Costa in Antarctica
Dan Costa in Antarctica. (Photo by Arina Favilla)
Dan Costa, distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and director of UC Santa Cruz's Institute of Marine Sciences, has been named a 2024 Fellow of the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the world’s largest community of professional ecologists committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth.

Costa, an internationally recognized expert on the ecology, physiology, and behavior of marine mammals and seabirds, is among just nine ecologists nationwide honored with the lifetime appointment. Fellows are recognized for having made "outstanding contributions to advancing or applying ecological knowledge in academics, government, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector."

In ESA's announcement today, the organization cited Costa's impactful career as a physiological ecologist who studies the movement patterns, foraging behavior and reproductive energetics of marine mammals and seabirds. His work has developed tools to identify and create viable Marine Protected Areas to conserve highly migratory species. This includes assessing the impact of underwater noise on wildlife populations.

Costa co-founded the Tagging of Pacific Predators program, a multidisciplinary effort to study the movement patterns of 23 predatory species in the North Pacific Ocean. He completed a Ph.D. at UC Santa Cruz and postdoctoral research at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

"Working at the intersection of ecology and physiology, it's easy to get lost between disciplines," Costa said. "Nevertheless, my research focuses on how the ecological context shapes the physiological adaptations of animals. I am therefore immensely honored to be elected as a fellow of the Ecological Society of America."

The new fellows will be formally honored during a ceremony in August at ESA’s annual meeting in Long Beach, Calif. The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization also named 10 new Early Career Fellows for 2024. To view the full list of fellows, see ESA’s announcement.