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Peter Gaube

Principal Oceanographer






B.A. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, 2003

M.S. Physical Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, 2007

Ph.D. Oceanography, Oregon State University, 2012

Peter Gaube's Website



2000-present and while at APL-UW

Movement ecology and stenothermy of satellite-tagged shortbill spearfish (Tetrapturus angustirostris)

Arostegui, M.C., P. Gaube, and C.D. Braun, "Movement ecology and stenothermy of satellite-tagged shortbill spearfish (Tetrapturus angustirostris)," Fish. Res., 215, 21-25, doi:10.1016/j.fishres.2019.03.005, 2019.

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1 Jul 2019

The shortbill spearfish (Tetrapturus angustirostris) is an understudied, istiophorid billfish primarily encountered as bycatch in pelagic commercial fisheries of the Indo-Pacific. The species is listed as data-deficient, and little is known of its biology, ecology, and population structure or status. We assessed the species' movement ecology and thermal niche with telemetry data from the first shortbill spearfishes ever outfitted with pop-up satellite archival transmitting tags (n = 3 with successfully transmitted data). Short (4–15 day) deployments offshore of the Island of Hawai'i revealed that spearfish primarily occupied the mixed layer, spending >90% of each 24-hr period between the surface and 100 m in water temperatures between 24–26°C. These individuals consistently exhibited vertical activity at night regardless of the prevailing lunar phase. Nocturnal movements throughout the mixed layer may enable shortbill spearfish to forage on mesopelagic species undergoing diel vertical migration and reduce trophic niche overlap with primarily diurnal, pelagic species. The narrow thermal distribution of shortbill spearfish in this study, almost exclusively within 2°C of sea surface temperature, suggests that they are more stenothermal than extra-generic istiophorid species.

Movement and thermal niche of the first satellite-tagged Mediterranean spearfish (Tetrapturus belone)

Arostegui, M.C., C.D. Braun, and P. Gaube, "Movement and thermal niche of the first satellite-tagged Mediterranean spearfish (Tetrapturus belone)," Fish. Oceanogr., 28, 327-333, doi:10.1111/fog.12413, 2019.

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1 May 2019

The Mediterranean spearfish (Tetrapturus belone) is one of the least‐studied istiophorid billfishes, with little known of its biology, ecology, and behavior. To assess the species' movement and thermal niche, we analyzed telemetry data from, to our knowledge, the first and only Mediterranean spearfish ever outfitted with a pop‐up satellite archival transmitting tag. Throughout a 29‐day deployment during July and August 2015, the fish travelled in Italian waters of the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Seas, spending on average 93% of each 24‐hr period above 30 m and exhibiting a diel activity pattern comprised of daytime vertical movement and nighttime near‐surface residency. The preferred thermal niche was 26–28°C, but the spearfish experienced temperatures as low as 14.2°C during descents. Vertical distribution was limited throughout the deployment with more time spent at depth in areas where the thermocline was comparatively deeper and weaker, consistent with habitat compression experienced by other billfishes.

Satellite observations of SST-induced wind speed perturbation at the oceanic submesoscale

Gaube, P., C.C. Chickadel, R. Branch, and A. Jessup, "Satellite observations of SST-induced wind speed perturbation at the oceanic submesoscale," Geophys. Res. Lett., 46, 2690-2695, doi:10.1029/2018GL080807, 2019.

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16 Mar 2019

Sea Surface Temperature (SST) modifies the turbulent mixing, drag, and pressure gradients within the marine atmospheric boundary layer that accelerate near‐surface flow from cool to warm SST and decelerate the flow from warm to cool SST. This phenomenon is well documented on scales of 100–1,000 km (the oceanic mesoscale); however, the nature of this air–sea coupling at scales on the order of 1–10 km (the submesoscale) remains unknown. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer can be used to study submesoscale phenomena because the high‐resolution infrared and near‐infrared images can used to estimate both SST and wind speed. Observations of dramatic temperature and wind gradients along the Gulf Stream landward edge are used to examine the surface wind response to submesoscale fronts in SST. Our analysis indicates that SST‐induced wind speed perturbations are observed at the scales of order 1–10 km, significantly smaller than previously suggested.

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In The News

Why great white sharks hang out in warm whirlpools

National Geographic, Douglas Main

New research on famous white sharks Mary Lee and Lydia shows the giant fish spend a surprising amount of time in warm oceanic eddies.

19 Jun 2018

Great white sharks dive deep into warm-water whirlpools in the Atlantic

UW News, Hannah Hickey

A study from the University of Washington and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution looked at the movements of adult female white sharks in the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Ocean. Results showed, surprisingly, that they prefer warm-water eddies — the clockwise-spinning whirlpools in the ocean — and tend to spend more time deep inside these slowly spinning features.

18 Jun 2018

Sea turtles don’t just go with the flow

Physics Today, Rachel Berkowitz

Satellite data reveal that the marine reptiles change their behavior to interact with currents.

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22 Mar 2017

Using satellite transmitters attached to juvenile turtles, Peter Gaube at the University of Washington and colleagues have found that loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) modify their behavior to position themselves inside eddies. The data showed that turtles avoided the peripheries of anticyclonic eddies.Gaube proposes that the turtles were seeking the gelatinous gastropods that favor the anomalously low chlorophyll concentrations and warm water in the interior.

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Continuous Underway Multi-sensor Profiler

Record of Invention Number: 48207

Peter Gaube, Kyla Drushka


15 Nov 2017

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center