top of page

Eastern Brown Pelicans nesting on Matagorda Bay, Texas. JLamb 2014.

Spatial ecology, breeding biology, and environmental stressors in the Eastern Brown Pelican

Our research focuses on obtaining information about populations of Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis) breeding across the northern Gulf of Mexico and in the South Atlantic Bight of the U.S. This research is intended to address information gaps and provides baseline ecological information for Brown Pelican. 

To date, we have used tracking data to analyze preferred marine habitat characteristics and analyze individual and colony-wide variation in home ranges, habitat characteristics, and migratory patterns. We have also collected breeding data from several colonies across the South Atlantic Bight and Northern Gulf of Mexico including chick survival from hatch to fledge, chick body condition, chick stress levels, chick diet composition, and nestling provisioning rates. We have color-banded pelican nestlings and are conducting an ongoing citizen science effort (through the Project Pelican initiative) to re-sight color bands and investigate the dispersal patterns and survival of juveniles during their first winter.

Future analysis will focus on comparing health, contaminant loads, and stress across colony sites, determining genetic correlates of migratory behavior, and investigating drivers of local-scale variation in nesting success and chick survival.


Patrick Jodice, USGS South Carolina Cooperative Research Unit / Clemson University

Juliet Lamb, South Carolina Cooperative Research Unit / Clemson University

Yvan Satgé, South Carolina Cooperative Research Unit / Clemson University

Felicia Sanders, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Tom Murphy, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Mark Spinks, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Margie Peden-Adams, Medical University of South Carolina

John Dindo, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Kathleen O’Reilly, University of Portland, Oregon

Udonna Ndu, Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative Information and Data Cooperative

Christine Fiorello, Hawks Aloft, Inc.

Graduate students

Lisa Ferguson (MS, PhD)

Joyce Stuckey (MS)

Elena Sachs (MS)

Lisa Wickliffe (MS)

Juliet Lamb (PhD)

Caroline Poli (MS)

Rochelle Streker (MS)

Bradley Wilkinson (PhD)

Selected publications

- Spatial and individual factors mediate the tissue burden of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in adult and chick brown pelicans in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Patrick G.R. Jodice, Juliet S. Lamb, Yvan G. Satgé, and Christopher Perkins. 2023. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 11:1185659. DOI:10.3389/fevo.2023.1185659


- Support for the fasting endurance hypothesis of partial migration in a nearshore seabird. Bradley P. Wilkinson and Patrick G. Jodice. 2023. Ecosphere, 14(2), p.e4365. DOI:10.1002/ecs2.4365


- Blood biochemistry and hematology of adult and chick brown pelicans in the northern Gulf of Mexico: baseline health values and ecological relationships. Patrick G.R. Jodice, Juliet S. Lamb, Yvan G. Satgé, and Christine Fiorello. 2022. Conserv. Physiol. 10(1): coac064. DOI:10.1093/conphys/coac064


Fine-scale Weather Patterns Drive Reproductive Success in the Brown Pelican. Rochelle A. Streker, Juliet S. Lamb, John Dindo, Patrick G. R. Jodice. 2021. Waterbirds. DOI:10.1675/063.044.0202


- Urban proximity while breeding is not a predictor of perfluoroalkyl substance contamination in the eggs of brown pelicans. Bradley P. Wilkinson, Anna R. Robuck,  Rainer Lohmann, Heidi M. Pickard, and Patrick G.R. Jodice. 2021. Science of The Total Environment. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150110


Ecological drivers of Brown Pelican movement patterns, health, and reproductive success in the Gulf of Mexico. Lamb, J.S., Y.G. Satgé, R.A. Streker, P.G.R Jodice. 2020. U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, New Orleans, LA. OCS Study BOEM-2020-036. 232 pp.  ​

Mercury, Cadmium, Copper, Arsenic, and Selenium Measurements in the Feathers of Adult Eastern Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis) and Chicks in Multiple Breeding Grounds in the Northern Gulf of Mexico. Udonna Ndu, Juliet S. Lamb, Sarah Janssen, Rosalie Rossi, Yvan Satgé, and Patrick Jodice. 2020. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. DOI: 10.7266/aza38gzz


Seasonal variation in environmental and behavioural drivers of annual‐cycle habitat selection in a nearshore seabird. Juliet S. Lamb, Yvan G. Satgé, and Patrick G.R. Jodice. 2019. Diversity and Distributions. DOI: 10.1111/ddi.13015


- Tropical cyclones alter short-term activity patterns of a coastal seabird. Bradley P. Wilkinson, Yvan G. Satgé, Juliet S. Lamb, and Patrick G.R. Jodice. 2019. Movement Ecology. DOI: 0.1186/s40462-019-0178-0


Diet composition and provisioning rates in eastern brown pelican nestlings determine reproductive success. Juliet S. Lamb, Yvan G. Satgé, and Patrick G.R. Jodice. 2017. Marine Ecology Progress Series. DOI: 10.3354/meps12301

Influence of density-dependent competition on foraging and migratory behavior of a subtropical colonial seabird. Juliet Lamb, Yvan Satgé, and Patrick Jodice. 2017. Ecology & Evolution: DOI 10.1002/ece3.3216

Physical condition and stress levels during early development reflect feeding rates and predict pre- and post-fledging survival in a nearshore seabird. Juliet Lamb, Kathleen O'Reilly, and Patrick Jodice. 2016. Conservation Physiology: DOI 10.1093/conphys/cow060

- Behavioral and reproductive effects of bird-borne data logger attachment on Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) on three temporal scales. Juliet Lamb, Yvan Satgé, Christine Fiorello, and Patrick Jodice. 2016. Journal of Ornithology: DOI 10.1007/s10336-016-1418-3

bottom of page