Staff Profile

Daniel Zitterbart


Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering


Phone: +1 508 289 3613

Office: Bigelow 213B

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution,   Mail Stop 11
266 Woods Hole Road
Woods Hole, MA 02543


Lab/Group Site:


Dr. rer-nat (PhD) Physics, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, 2013
Diploma Physics, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, 2006

Research Statement

My main interest lies in using meso-scale remote sensing methods like photography and passive acoustic monitoring to study behavior and ecology of animal groups. Currently my group focuses on two main systems, penguins and whales, usually somewhere on the southern hemisphere.  We try to find general rules which govern motion of animals, groups of animals, or even populations. The resulting position/trajectory data is analyzed using statistical physics methods and self-propelled particle modelling is used to understand the underlying rules. The topic of our work is reflected in the groups composition where we have physicists, biologists and computer scientists.


Lecturer, Biophysics Group, Department of Physics, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Visiting Associate Professor, IROAST, Kumamoto University, Kumamoto, Japan


  • ONR Young Investigator Award (YIP) (2019)
  • WHOI Innovative Technology Award (2018)
  • Mary Sears visitor Award (2018)
  • WHOI Interdisciplinary Award (2017)
  • Doherty Postdoctoral Scholarship Award, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (2015)
  • Briese-Award for Marine Science for Young Investigators, Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research (2013)
  • Highlights of 2013 collection, New Journal of Physics for the article „Origin of traveling waves in an emperor penguin huddle” (2013)
  • Best Poster Prize, International Summer School for Pattern Recognition (ISSPR), British Society of Pattern Recognition (2010)
  • Ohmprize of the University of Erlangen for extraordinary thesis in physics (2007)
  • American Society of Cell Biology International Student Travel Award (2007)
  • Prize of the German Chemical Industry fund for the valedictorian in chemistry and physics (1999)