faculty listing

A Photo of  Markus Horning

Contact Information

Marine Mammal Institute, OSU
2030 SE Marine Science Dr.
Newport, OR 97365
Phone: (541) 867-0202

Markus Horning Affiliate Faculty

Marine Ecology • Marine Mammals


  • Department of Fisheries & Wildlife
  • Marine Mammal Institute
  • Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station
  • Fisheries & Wildlife Department, Oregon State University


  • Behavioral Physiology and Life History of Diving Animals

Research Overview

Starting in 1990, I have developed and built numerous miniaturized data recording computers to monitor physiological, behavioral and environmental parameters on diving animals. These include some of the smallest and most accurate archival recorders world-wide, using state-of-the-art instrumentation grade sensors, advanced digital signal processing, data compression and optical communications with external computers. These devices have been used by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Max-Planck-Institute, U.C. Santa Cruz, Texas A&M Univ., National Geographic Television, Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute, U.S. Navy, and the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service. Specialized sensors developed by me have been used successfully on more than twelve different species of diving animals.

Since 1990, I have pursued the development of specialized data analysis software for the analysis of time-series telemetry data. This software has been freely distributed and is in use by several laboratories. The development of new research approaches and technologies is continuing through several cooperative development programs between my laboratory at Texas A&M, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Department of Fish & Game, and Wildlife Computers, Inc.



Mellish, J.E., J. Thomton and M. Horning. 2007. Physiological and behavioral response to intra-abdominal transmitter implantation in Steller sea lions. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 351:283-293.

Mellish, J.E., M. Horning and A.E. York. 2007. Seasonal and spatial blubber-depth changes in captive harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and Steller’s sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Journal of Mammalogy 88: 408-414.

Waite, J.N., W.J. Schrader, J.E. Mellish and M. Horning. 2007. Three-dimensional photogrammetry as a tool for estimating morphometrics and body mass of Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus). Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences 64: 296-303.

Mellish,J.E., D.G. Calkins, D.R. Christen, M. Horning, L.D. Rea and S.K. Atkinson. 2006. Temporary captivity as a research tool: Comprehensive study of wild pinnipeds under controlled conditions. Aquatic Mammals 32: 58-65.

Cornick LA, S.D. Inglis, K. Willis and M. Horning. 2006. Effects of increased swimming costs on foraging behavior and efficiency of captive Steller sea lions: evidence for behavioral plasticity in the recovery phase of dives. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 333: 306-314.

Horning, M. and R.D. Hill. 2005. Designing an archival satellite transmitter for life-long deployments on oceanic vertebrates: The Life History Transmitter. IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering 30: 807-817.

Willis, K. and M. Horning. 2005. A novel approach to measuring heat flux in swimming animals. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 315: 147-162.

Willis, K., M. Horning, D.A.S. Rosen and A.W. Trites. 2005. Spatial variation of heat flux in Steller sea lions: evidence for consistent avenues of heat exchange along the body trunk. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 315: 163-175.

Mellish, J.E., P.A. Tuomi and M. Horning. 2004. Assessment of ultrasound imaging as a non-invasive measure of blubber thickness in pinnipeds. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 35: 116 - 118.

Williams, T.M., A. Fuiman, M. Horning and R. Davis. 2004. The cost of foraging by a marine predator, the Weddell seal Leptonychotes weddellii: pricing by the stroke. The Journal of Experimental Biology 207: 973-982.

Davis, R.W., W. Hagey and M. Horning. 2004. Monitoring the behavior and multi-dimensional movements of Weddell seals using an animal-borne video and data recorder. Memoirs of the National Institute of Polar Research, Special Issue 58: 148-154.

Davis, R.W., L.A. Fuiman, T.M. Williams, M. Horning and W. Hagey. 2003. Classification of Weddell seal dives based on three-dimensional movements and video recorded observations. Marine Ecology Progress Series 264: 109-122.

Cornick, L.A. and M. Horning. 2003. A test of hypotheses based on optimal foraging considerations for a diving mammal using a novel experimental approach. Canadian Journal of Zoology 81: 1799-1807.