Manatee Research

Dr. Nicola Erdsack

Dr. Nicola Erdsack

International Postdoctoral Scientist

After studying information sciences and 9 years of employment in IT I began studying biology in 2004. Having finished the basic studies in 2006 I started studying Marine biology at the Baltic Sea, Germany. I'd been working on thermal biology in pinnipeds since my Diploma thesis in 2008. That included the training and husbandry of up to 12 harbor seals, South African fur seals and California sea lions. After investigating these mostly cold adapted species I switched my focus to thermoregulation of the warm adapted manatees, in particular the cold stress syndrome. This study is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).


PhD in Zoology, Diploma in Biology with Major in Marine Biology, Diploma in Librarian Sciences with Major in Information Sciences


Erdsack N., Dehnhardt G., Wree A., Witt M., Siebert U. & Hanke W. (2015). Unique fur and skin structure in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) – thermal insulation, drag reduction, or both? Journal of the Royal Society Interface 12(104): 20141206. doi:10.1098/rsif.2014.1206

Erdsack N., Dehnhardt G., Hanke W. (2014). Thermoregulation of the vibrissal system in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and Cape fur seals (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 452: 111-118. doi:10.1016/j.jembe.2013.12.011

Erdsack N., Dehnhardt G., Hanke W. (2013). Coping with heat: Function of the natal coat of Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) pups in maintaining core body temperature. PLoS ONE 8(8): e72081. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072081

Erdsack N., Hanke F. D., Dehnhardt G., Hanke W. (2012). Control and amount of heat dissipation through thermal windows in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina). Journal of Thermal Biology 37 (7): 537–544.

Hanke W. & Erdsack N. (2015) Ecology and Evolution of Dolphin Sensory Systems, in: Herzing, D.L., Johnson, C.M. (Eds.), Dolphin Communication & Cognition: Past, Present, Future. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, USA

Erdsack N., McCully Phillips S. R., Rommel S. A., Pabst D. A., McLellan W. A., Reynolds J. E., III (2018) Heat flux in manatees: an individual matter and a novel approach to assess and monitor the thermal state of Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris). J Comp Physiol B 188 (4):717-727. doi:10.1007/s00360-018-1152-7