Ginger Rebstock, Ph.D.

Research Scientist


I grew up on a beach in Texas, where I swam, sailed, fished, and observed marine animals every day, so it’s only natural that I ended up studying oceanography. I received a Ph.D. in biological oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2001, where I was an EPA STAR (Science to Achieve Results) graduate fellow. After a few more months in San Diego working weekends at a breeding colony of Least Terns and Snowy Plovers, and studying fish larvae for a day job, I joined The Magellanic Penguin Project in September 2001 and went to Punta Tombo for the first time. In 2002-2003, I took two short leaves of absence to study zooplankton in South Korea, but was hooked on penguins, and I returned as soon as possible.

I spend 1-2 months per year at Punta Tombo. In most years, I go at the beginning of the season to train the new field crew. After so many years, I’m still eager to see what is different each new season compared to the last season. The rest of the year I spend in Seattle, analyzing data and writing papers, helping students with their projects, and working on the myriad of tasks required to run a large project.


My research interests include any and all aspects of penguin biology, as well as the effects of climate on marine populations, how seabirds interact with their oceanic environment, and conservation of seabirds.

I have studied marine animals as diverse as zooplankton, fish larvae, and seabirds, the common thread being long (20-50 year) records of populations. These long records are rare, and I was drawn to The Magellanic Penguin Project by the 25+ year dataset the project has generated (and of course by the charismatic penguins themselves). I enjoy the challenge that analyzing long datasets presents, as well as field work in remote Patagonia.

Penguins spend only part of their lives on land, where they are easily studied. They spend much of their lives at sea, both during the winter when they seldom come ashore, and during the breeding season when they make foraging trips lasting a few hours to a few weeks. As an oceanographer, I’m especially interested in this part of penguins’ lives. The Penguin Project tracks penguins at sea using satellite transmitters and GPS tags, and we have published several papers showing where Magellanic Penguins go at sea during the breeding season, and looking at patterns of ocean productivity and temperature that explain why penguins forage where they do. This information will be used to help prevent conflicts between human and penguin uses of the coastal ocean.

  • Boersma, P. D. and G. A. Rebstock. 2014. Climate change increases reproductive failure in Magellanic penguins. PLoS ONE in press.
  • Boersma, P. D., E. Frere, O. Kane, L. M. Pozzi, K. Pütz, A. Raya Rey, G. A. Rebstock, A. Simeone, J. Smith, A. Van Buren, P. Yorio, and P. García Borboroglu. 2013. Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus), p. 233-263. In P. García Borboroglu and P. D. Boersma [eds.], Penguins: Natural History and Conservation. University of Washington Press, Seattle.
  • Rebstock, G. A., and P. D. Boersma. 2013. Parental behavior controls incubation period and asynchrony of hatching in Magellanic Penguins: reply to Demongin, Poisbleau and Eens (2013). Condor 115:5-7.
  • Boersma, P. D. and G. A. Rebstock. 2012. Penguins. Pages 1093-1095 in S.G. Philander editor. Encyclopedia of global warming and climate change. 2nd Edition. Vol. 3. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
  • Rebstock, G. A. and P. D. Boersma. 2011. Parental behavior controls incubation period and hatching asynchrony in Magellanic Penguins. Condor 113(2):316-325.
  • Boersma, P. D., G. A. Rebstock. 2010. Calculating egg volume when shape differs: when are equations appropriate? Journal of Field Ornithology 81(4):442-448.
  • Rebstock, G. A., M. L. Agüero, P. D. Boersma, L. A. Ebert, A. Gómez Laich, N. Lisnizer, W. S. Svagelj, and M. M. Trivellini. 2010. Repeated observations of a Cape gannet (Morus capensis) on the coast of Patagonia, Argentina. Ostrich 81(2):167-169.
  • Boersma, P. D., and G. A. Rebstock. 2010. Effects of double bands on Magellanic Penguins. Journal of Field Ornithology. 81(2):195-205.
  • Boersma, P. D. and G. A. Rebstock. 2009 Flipper bands do not affect foraging-trip duration of Magellanic Penguins. Journal of Field Ornithology 80(4):408-418.
  • Boersma, P. D. and G. A. Rebstock. 2009. Magellanic Penguin eggshell pores: does number matter? Ibis 151: 535-540.
  • Boersma, P.D. and Rebstock, G.A. 2009. Intraclutch egg-size dimorphism in Magellanic Penguins: adaptation, constraint, or noise? Auk 126(2): 335-340.
  • Boersma, P.D., Rebstock, G.A., Frere, E. and Moore, S.E. 2009. Following the fish: penguins and productivity in the South Atlantic. Ecological Monographs 79(1): 59-76.
  • Boersma, P.D. and Rebstock, G.A. 2009. Foraging distance affects reproductive success in Magellanic penguins. Marine Ecology Progress Series 375: 263-275.
  • Boersma, P.D. and Rebstock, G.A. 2008. Penguins. Pages 779-780 in S.G. Philander editor. Encyclopedia of global warming and climate change. Vol. 3. Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA.
  • Boersma, P.D., Rebstock, G.A., Stokes, D.L. and Majluf, P. 2007. Oceans apart: conservation models for two temperate penguin species shaped by the marine environment. Marine Ecology Progress Series335:217-225.
  • Rebstock, G.A. 2006. Domestic Cat Felis catus. Pages 172-173 in P.D. Boersma, S.H. Reichard, and A.N. Van Buren editors. Invasive Species in the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.
  • García-Borboroglu, P., Boersma, P.D., Ruoppolo, V., Reyes, L., Rebstock, G.A., Griot, K., Rodrigues Heredia, S., Corrado Adornes, A. and Pinho da Silva, R. 2006. Chronic oil pollution harms Magellanic penguins in the Southwest Atlantic. Marine Pollution Bulletin 52:193-198.
  • Rafferty, N.E., Boersma, P.D. and Rebstock, G.A. 2005. Intraclutch egg-size variation in Magellanic Penguins. Condor 107:921-926.
  • Boersma, P.D., Rebstock, G.A. and Stokes, D.L. 2004. Why penguin eggshells are thick. Auk 121:148-155.
  • Rebstock, G.A. and Kang, Y.S. 2003. A comparison of three marine ecosystems surrounding the Korean peninsula: Responses to climate change. Progress in Oceanography 59:357-379.
  • Rebstock, G.A. 2003. Long-term change and stability in the California Current System: Lessons from CalCOFI and other long-term data sets. Deep-Sea Research 50:2583-2594.
  • Rebstock, G.A. 2002. Climatic regime shifts and decadal-scale variability in calanoid copepod populations off southern California. Global Change Biology 8:71-89.
  • Rebstock, G.A. 2002. An analysis of a zooplankton sampling-gear change in the CalCOFI long-term monitoring program, with implications for copepod population abundance trends. Progress in Oceanography 53:215-230.
  • Rebstock, G.A. 2001. Long-term stability of species composition in calanoid copepods off southern California.  Marine Ecology Progress Series 215:213-224.