Brent S. Stewart, Ph.D. J.D.

Senior Research Scientist


Major Research Areas

Population Biology, Ecology, Behavior and Physiology of Marine Vertebrates


  • Juris Doctorate (Law), Boalt Hall School of Law, UC Berkeley
  • Ph.D., Biology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • M.S., Ecology, San Diego State University
  • B.A., Biology, University of California, Los Angeles


  • Adjunct Professor, University of San Diego
  • Affiliate Faculty, University of California (Davis) School of Veterinary Medicine and Wildlife Health Center
  • National Fellow, The Explorers Club
  • Fellow, Royal Geographical Society
  • Associate Editor, Marine Biology
  • Associate Editor, Aquatic Biology

University Affiliations

  • Visiting Researcher, Department of Biology, University of California at San Diego;
  • Adjunct Professor, Marine and Environmental Studies Program, University of San Diego;
  • Adjunct Lecturer, San Diego State University

Dr. Brent Stewart has studied the population biology, foraging and physiological ecology, and behavior of marine mammals, sea birds, and whale sharks for over 35 years. His research expeditions have ranged from Greenland and Iceland in the North Atlantic south to Marion Island in the South Atlantic and Kenya and Western Australia in the Indian Ocean, in Russia’s Lake Baikal and along the coast of Kamchatka, from the Beaufort and Bering Seas south through temperate, tropical and equatorial waters in the North Pacific Ocean, and in the Weddell, Amundsen, and Ross Seas of the Antarctic’s Southern Ocean and in China’s Yangtze River. Dr. Stewart’s principal interests in these comparative studies is in discovering and understanding what habitats are important to these various large marine vertebrates, how they navigate and migrate over vast areas to find and use those habitats, how they hunt and capture prey necessary to sustain fasting periods and successfully reproduce, how they interact while sharing habitats and resources, and how they respond to and adjust to short and long term natural and anthropogenic changes in those key habitats. The application of remote sensing and telemetry is a key tool in many of these studies. The overall objectives of his scientific studies are to contribute his findings to the peer reviewed scientific literature and to education, conservation and management authorities to promote science-based conservation of ocean life. Dr. Stewart holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of California at Los Angeles, a Master of Science degree in Ecology from California State University at San Diego, a Doctoral degree in Biology from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a Juris Doctorate from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley. 


Selected Publications

 Ackley, S. F., J. L. Bengtson, P. Boveng, M. Castellini, K. L. Daly, S. Jacobs, G. L. Kooyman, J. Laake, L. Quetin, R. Ross, D. B. Siniff, B. S. Stewart, I. Stirling, J. Torres, and P. K. Yochem). 2003. A topdown multi-disciplinary framework for examining the pack ice ecosystem of the eastern Ross Sea, Antarctica. Polar Record. 39 (210):219-230. (Cover photo).

 Akamatsu, T., D. Wang, K. Wang, S. Li, S. Dong, X. Zhao, Z. Wei, J. Barlow, B. S. Stewart, M. Richlen.2008. Estimation of the detection probability for Yangtze finless porpoises (Neophocoena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis) with a passive acoustic method. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 123:4403-4411.

Castro, A.,  B.S. Stewart, S. Wilson, R. Hueter, P. Motta, M. Meekan, B. Bowen, S.A. Karl. 2007. Population genetics of Earth’s largest fish, the whale shark (Rhincodon typus). Molecular Ecology 16:5183-5192.

 Curtis, C.,  B. S. Stewart, S. Karl. 2009 Pleistocene population expansion of Antarctic seals. Molecular Ecology, 18:2112-2121.

Esson, D.W., H.N. Nollens, T.L. Schmitt, K.J. Fritz, C.A. Simeone, B.S. Stewart. 2015. Aphakic phacoemulsification and automated vitrectomy and post-return monitoring of a rehabilitated harbor seal (Phoca vitulina richardsi) pup. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 46:647-651.

 Goldstein, T, F. M. D. Gulland, B. M. Aldridge, J. T. Harvey, T. Rowles, D. M. Lambourn, S. J. Jeffries, L. Measures, P. K. Yochem, B. S. Stewart, R. J. Small, D. P. King, J. L. Stott, and J. A. K. Mazet. 2003. Prevalence of phocine herpesvirus-1 exposure in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) in North America. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 3: 487-494.

 Lehman, N., D. J. Decker, and B. S. Stewart. 2004. Divergent patterns of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II variation in four species of Antarctic phocid pinnipeds. Journal of Mammalogy 85(6): 1215-1224.

Littnan, C., B. S. Stewart, P. K. Yochem, and R. C. Braun. 2006. Survey for Selected Pathogens and Evaluation of Disease Risk Factors for Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals in the Main Hawaiian Islands. EcoHealth 3: 233-244.

Reeves, R. R. and  B. S. Stewart. 2003. Marine Mammals of the World: An Introduction. Pp. 1-64, In: Walker’ marine mammals of the world. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland. 264 pp.

 Stewart, B. S., G. A. Antonelis, J. D. Baker, and P.K. Yochem. 2006. Foraging biogeography of Hawaiian monk seals in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 543:131-145.

 Soll, S.,  B. S. Stewart, and N. Lehman. 2005. Conservation of MHC Class II Sequences Among Carnivores. Tissue Antigens. 65: 283-286.

Stewart, B. S. and S. G. Wilson. 2005. Threatened fishes of the world: Rhincodon typus (Smith 1828) (Rhincodontidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 74:184-185.

 Tosh, C., N. de Bruyn, J. Steyn, H. Bornemann, J. van den Hoff, B. S. Stewart, J. Plotz, M. Bester.  2015. The importance of seasonal sea-surface height anomalies for foraging juvenile southern elephant seals. Marine Biology 162:2131-2140. DOI 10.1007/s00227-015-2743-4

Turvey, S. T., R. L. Pitman, B. L. Taylor, J. Barlow, T. Akamatsu, L. A. Barrett, X. Zhao, R. R. Reeves, B. S. Stewart, K. Wang, Z. Wei, X. Zhang, M. Richlen, T. Pusser, J. R. Brandon, and D. Wang. 2007. First human-caused extinction of a cetacean species? Biology Letters 3:537-540.

 Weber, D.S.,  B. S. Stewart, J. Schienman, and N. Lehman. 2004. Major histocompatibility complex variation at three class II loci in the northern elephant seal. Molecular Ecology. 13:711 718. (Cover photo).

 Weber, D. S.,  B. S. Stewart, and N. Lehman. 2004. Genetic consequences of a severe population bottleneck in the Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi). Journal of Heredity 95:144-153. (Cover photo)

 Wilson, S. G., J. J. Polovina,  B. S. Stewart, and M. Meekan. 2006. Movements of whale sharks tagged at Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. Marine Biology 148: 1157-1166.

Ylitalo, G. M., M. Myers, B. S. Stewart, P. K. Yochem, R. Braun, L. Kashinsky, D. Boyd, G. A. Antonelis, S. Atkinson, L. A. Woodward, A. Aguirre, and M. M. Krahn. 2008. Organochlorine contaminants in endangered Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi) from four Northwestern Hawaiian Islands subpopulations. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 56:231-244. Doi:10.1016/jmarpolbul.207.09.034.

 Yochem, P.K., F.M.D. Gulland,  B.S. Stewart, M. Haulena, J.A.K. Mazet and W.M. Boyce. 2008. Thyroid function testing in elephant seals in health and disease. General and Comparative Endocrinology 155:635-640.

Yochem, P.K., B.S. Stewart, J.A.K. Mazet and W.M. Boyce. 2008. Hematologic and serum biochemical profile of the northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris): variation with age, sex and season. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 44:911-921.


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