Lei Lani Stelle

Assoc Professor, Biology

Degrees: Ph.D. Organismic Biology, Ecology, and Evolution; University of California, Los Angeles; 2001 M.Sc. Zoology; University of British Columbia; 1997 B.A. Marine Biology; University of California, Santa Cruz; 1994

Office: Biology, Hedco Hall

Phone: 909/748-8628



Areas of Expertise

Physiological ecology and behavior of marine mammals

Professional Background Highlights

Lei Lani Stelle joined the Department of Biology at the University of Redlands after spending six years as an Assistant Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. She has taught both non-majors and majors courses in introductory biology, along with upper-division courses in comparative animal physiology, animal behavior, marine biology, marine mammals, and research. She is an advocate for study abroad and has led her own travel courses to Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and Canada.

Her research interests are the physiological ecology of aquatic mammals. Her current projects focus on the genetics and behavior of river otters utilizing marine habitats and the distribution and diving physiology of gray whales. These projects require technologies such as remote field cameras, PCR, theodolites, SCUBA, and GIS analysis. Lei Lani includes students in her research locally along the California coast and on expeditions to Baja, Mexico and British Columbia, Canada.

She is Vice-President of a non-profit research group, Coastal Ecosystems Research Foundation, which has successfully obtained grants totally nearly 1 million dollars and is partially funded by Earthwatch Expeditions.

Courses Offered at Redlands

  • Biol 133 – Principles of Biology
  • Biol 334 – Comparative Physiology
  • Biol 260 - Marine Ecology, travel course
  • Biol 460 – Research Topics in Biology

Previous Teaching Experience

Animal Behavior, General Biology, Human Biology, Marine Biology, Ecology of Baja, Zoo Internship, Biology of Marine Mammals

Professional Experience

  • Vice President, Coastal Ecosystems Research Foundation, 1997-present
  • Assistant Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology, 2002-2008
  • Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles, 2001-2002
  • Adjunct Faculty, Santa Monica College, summer 2002
  • Outreach Educator, LAUSD, 1994-2002

Awards, Honors and Grants

  • Canadian Studies, Faculty Enrichment Program grant, 2009
  • Earthwatch Institute, Research grant, 2000-1 and 2004-9
  • National Marine Fisheries Service, National Marine Mammal Lab grant, 2001-9
  • American Association of University Women, American Fellow, 2006
  • ESRI Technology, GIS software, 2005
  • International Student Volunteers, Operating grant, 2004-5
  • Full Circle Foundation, Research Grant, 2001-2
  • UCLA, James Memorial Dissertation Award, 2001
  • University Research Expeditions program, Operating grant, 1999-2000

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Stelle, L.L., Megill, W.M. and Kinzel, M.R. (2008) “Activity Budgets and Diving Behavior of Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus) in Feeding Grounds off Coastal British Columbia”. Marine Mammal Science, 24(3): 462–478.

Stelle, L.L., Blake, R.W., and Trites, A.W. 2000 “Hydrodynamic Drag in Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus)”. Journal of Experimental Biology, 203: 1915-1923.

Thompson, L. and Stelle, L.L. (in review) “Prey preference of the North American River Otter (Lontra canadensis) matches predictions of optimal foraging theory”.

Conference Presentations

Stelle, L.L., Megill, W.M. “Activity Budget, Diving Behavior, and Foraging Ecology of Gray Whales off Coastal British Columbia” (poster) American Cetacean Society, 11th International Conference – Whales in a Changing World, Monterey, California, Nov. 13-16, 2008

Kinzel, M., Scott-Ashe, J., Stelle, L.L., and Megill, W “Using GIS to Examine Marine Processes: Whales and El Nino” (talk) 26th Annual ESRI International User Conference, San Diego, August 7-11, 2006

Stelle, L.L., “Using Technology to Monitor a Reintroduced Population of North American River Otters” (poster) Carnivores 2006, Defenders of Wildlife Conference, Saint Petersburg, Florida, Nov. 12-15, 2006

Stelle, L.L. and Megill, W. "Feeding Behavior of Gray Whales on Mysid Swarms: Prey Selection Based on Size" (talk) Society for Marine Mammalogy 14th Biennial Conference, Vancouver, Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 2001

Stelle, L.L. and Megill, W. “Feeding Ecology of Gray Whales (Eschrichtius robustus) in British Columbia, Canada” (poster) Society for Marine Mammalogy 13th Biennial Conference, Maui, Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 1999

Megill, W., Randall, D. and Stelle, L.L. “El Nino Induced Changes in Gray Whale Abundance and Residency Patterns on Central Coast of B.C.” (poster) Society for Marine Mammalogy 13th Biennial Conference, Maui, Nov. 28-Dec. 3, 1999

Stelle, L.L., Blake, W. and Trites, A. “Drag and Energetics of Swimming in Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus)” (poster) World Marine Mammal Science 12th Biennial Conference, Monaco, Jan 20-24, 1998


  • American Cetacean Society, San Pedro, California, February 2009. “Why Size Matters: Gray Whale Foraging Ecology”
  • Genesee River Conference, hosted by Regional Planning Council, Mount Morris, New York, October 2007. “River Otter Restoration”
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, California, April 2007. “The Elusive River Otter: Using Traditional and Modern Techniques to Study a Reintroduced population”
  • Earthwatch Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, May, 2005. “Gray Whale Migrations”
  • Elmira College, Elmira, New York, November, 2003. “Bioenergetics of Marine Mammals”


  • Panel participant "Interfacing Third-Party Study Abroad Programs with Home School Faculty" at the NAFSA (Association for International Educators) Regional Conference for New York, Rochester, Nov. 4, 2006
  • Panel moderator “Faces of Change”, conference to encourage girls to pursue STEM careers, Nov. 12, 2005

Professional Affiliations

  • Vice-President, Coastal Ecosystems Research Foundation, BC, Canada
  • Scientific Advisory Board, American Cetacean Society, LA chapter

Lei Lani Stelle is the Faculty Sponsor of the Ocean Love Club

Cogeneration Plant
Cogeneration Plant

The state-of-the-art power facility enables the University to produce a majority of its own energy and has reduced the campus’s carbon footprint by 33 percent.

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