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Joe Galusha

Professor of Biology, Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies


D.Phil. 1975 - University of Oxford


BIOL 384 - Sociobiology
BIOL 417/517 - Behavior of Marine Organisms
BIOL 483 - Philosophy of Origins and Speciation


Biology majors

Animal behavior, social biology of glaucous-winged gulls, territoriality, theoretical sociobiology.

I am interested in theoretical aspects of social behavior; especially that taking place in large seabird colonies. Currently my students and I are describing the differences in the daily behavior of resident adult and juvenile glaucous-winged gulls living in different habitats and family sizes. Preliminary results suggest that the ideal place for gulls to nest is in short grass habitats with some tall grass patches interspersed. Adult gulls can detect predators and intruders easier while standing in short grass than in tall grass but the later provide shade during the heat of midday. Adult gulls seem equally able to raise families containing 1, 2, 3, or 4 chicks. Differences in the frequencies of key behaviors may indicate varying levels of stress involved, however.

These observations will be compared with detailed quantitative observations of the social behavior of Indian peafowl also breeding on this island. A comparison of the different demands, putative causes, and presumed benefits to each of these species will be integrated into a model of group dynamics during the breeding season.

We are also studying the impact of bald eagle disturbance and predation on gulls and other seabirds nesting on an island in the Puget Sound: Protection Island, Washington. Adult and juvenile eagles behave differently when flying over the gull colony. We are quantifying the direction, altitude, number of predation attempts by these two classes of eagles and associating them with temporal and climatological parameters.


2010.  Socially induced synchronization of every-other-day egg laying in a seabird colony.  Auk, 127: 571-580

2010.  Foraging-related activity of bald eagles at a Washington seabird colony and seal rookery. Journal of Raptor Research, 44(1):19-29

2007.  Modeling territory attendance and preening behavior in a seabird colony as a function of environmental conditions. Journal of Biological Dynamics 1:95-107. (with Henson, Hayward, Cushing)

2007.  Predicting the dynamics of animal behavior in field populations. Animal Behavior 74:103-110. (with Henson, Dennis, Hayward, Cushing)

2004.  Predicting dynamics of aggregate loafing behavior in glaucous-winged gulls (Larus glaucescens) at a Washington colony. Auk 121:380-390 (with Henson, Hayward, Burden, Logan)

2002.  Bald eagle activities at a gull colony and seal rookery in Washington State. Northwestern Naturalist 82: 23-25 (with Hayward)


(509) 527-2421

Last update on April 20, 2016