People Directory : Dan Zitterbart

Dan Zitterbart

Dan Zitterbart

Assistant Scientist

Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering

Office Phone: +1 508 289 3613

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WHOI Mailing Address:

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

266 Woods Hole Rd.

MS# 11

Woods Hole, MA 02543-1050


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

Research Interests

Ocean Acoustics, Ambient Noise, Marine Mammal Acoustics, Collective Dynamics, Seabird colony structures, Animal Migration

Publications (peer-reviewed)

external profiles: Google scholar Researchgate ORCHID

* denotes a student

In Press:



(25) *Richter S., *Gerum R., *Winterl A., Houstin A., *Seifert M., *Peschel J., Fabry B., Le Bohec C. and Zitterbart DP. "Phase transitions in huddling emperor penguins." J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 51 214002 (2018)

(24) *Gerum R., *Richter S., Fabry B., Nesterova A., Le Bohec C., Bonadonna F., and Zitterbart DP. "Structural organization and dynamics in king penguin colonies." J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 51 164004 (2018) doi:10.1088/1361-6463/aab46b

(23) *Richter S., Gerum R., Schneider W., Fabry B., Le Bohec C., Zitterbart DP. “A remote-controlled observatory for behavioural and ecological research: A case study on emperor penguins,”  Methods in Ecology and Evolution (2018) doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12971

(22) Verfuss UK., Gillespie D., Gordon J., Marques TA., Miller B., Plunkett R., Theriault J., Tollit D., Zitterbart DP., Hubert P., & Thomas L. “Low Visibility real-time marine mammal monitoring techniques review,” Marine Pollution Bulletin 126 (2018) 1–18, doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2017.10.034

(21) Sorensen S., Treible W., Hsu L., Wang X., Mahoney AR., Zitterbart DP., Kambahmettu C. Deep Learning for Polar Bear Detection. In: Sharma P., Bianchi F. (eds) Image Analysis. SCIA 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10269. Springer; DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-59126-1_38

(20) *Menze S., Zitterbart DP., van Opzeeland I., Boebel O. The influence of sea ice, wind speed and marine mammals on Southern Ocean ambient noise. R. Soc. open sci. 2017 4 160370;DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160370

(19) Sorensen S., Mahoney A., Zitterbart DP., Kambahmettu C., A Virtual Reality Framework for Multimodal Imagery in Vessels in Polar Regions. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS), 2017, Volume 10133, pp 63-75, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-51814-5_6

(18) *Gerum R., Richter S., Fabry B., Zitterbart DP. ClickPoints: an expandable toolbox for scientific image annotation and analysis. Methods Ecol Evol.(2016) doi:10.1111/2041-210X.12702

(17) *Thomisch K., Boebel O., Clark CW., Hagen W., Spiesecke S., Zitterbart DP., Van Opzeeland I. Spatio-temporal patterns in acoustic presence and distribution of Antarctic blue whales Balaenoptera musculus intermedia in the Weddell Sea. Endang Species Res 30:239-253 (2016) doi:10.3354/esr00739

(16) Cristofari R., Bertorelle G., Ancel A., Benazzo A., Le Maho Y., Ponganis PJ., Stenseth NC., Trathan PN., Whittington JD., Zanetti E., Zitterbart DP., Le Bohec C. & Trucchi E. Full circumpolar migration ensures evolutionary unity in the Emperor penguin. Nature Communications, 7:11842 (2016) doi: 10.1038/ncomms11842 (2016).

(15) Fais A, Lewis TP, Zitterbart DP, Álvarez O, Tejedor A, Aguilar Soto N. Abundance and Distribution of Sperm Whales in the Canary Islands: Can Sperm Whales in the Archipelago Sustain the Current Level of Ship-Strike Mortalities? PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150660. (2016) doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150660

(14) *Thomisch K., Boebel O., Zitterbart DP., Samaran F., van Parijs S., van Opzeeland I. Effects of recording duty cycles on passive acoustic data - a case study with baleen whale data. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 138, 267 (2015);

(13) Zitterbart DP., Richter S., Spiekermann G., Behrens LK., Regnery J., Fontes RP, Hänssler T., König-Langlo G., Weller R., Fabry B. Are environmental factors responsible for changed breeding behaviour in emperor penguins? Antarctic Science, 26, pp 563-564, 2014., doi: 10.1017/S0954102014000285 (Link)

(12) Bombosch A., Zitterbart DP., van Opzeeland IC., Frickenhaus S., Wisz MS, Boebel O. Predictive habitat modelling of humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) and antarctic minke (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) Whales in the southern ocean as a planning tool for seismic surveys. Deep Sea Research I, Volume 91, September 2014, Pages 101–114 , doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2014.05.017

(11) *Gerum R., Fabry B., Metzner C., Beaulieu M., Ancel A., Zitterbart DP. Origin of traveling waves in an emperor penguin huddle. New Journal of Physics 15 (2013) 125022 (17pp) doi:10.1088/1367-2630/15/12/125022(Link) 

(10) Weissenberger J. and Zitterbart DP.Surveillance of Marine Mammals in the Safety Zone around an Air Gun Array with the Help of a 360° Infrared Camera System. SPE/APPEA International Conference on Health, Safety, and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production. doi: 10.2118/158038-MS (peer reviewed full conference paper)

(9) Zitterbart DP., Kindermann L, Burkhardt E, Boebel O. Round-the-Clock Protection of Whales from Underwater Noise by Thermal Imaging. PLoS ONE 8(8): e71217. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071217 (2013)(Link)

(8) Zitterbart DP, Wienecke B, Butler JP, Fabry B.Coordinated movements prevent jamming in an Emperor penguin huddle. PLoS ONE 6(6): e20260. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020260 (2011)(Link)

(7) Mierke CT, Kollmannsberger P, Zitterbart DP, Diez G, Koch TM, Marg S, Ziegler WH, Goldmann WH, Fabry B. Vinculin facilitates cell invasion into 3D collagen matrices. J Biol Chem, 2010 ( (PDF)

(6) Oakes PW, Morin NA, Zitterbart DP, Patel D, Fabry B,Reichner JS, Tang JX. Neutrophil morphology and migration are affected by substrate elasticity. Blood, 2009; DOI 10.1182/blood-2008-11-191445. (Link) 

(5) Roesel D, Brabek J, Tolde O, Mierke CT, Zitterbart DP, Raupach C, Bicanova K, Kollmannsberger P, Pankova D, Vesely P, Folk P, Fabry B. Up-Regulation of Rho/ROCK Signaling in Sarcoma Cells Drives Invasion and Increased Generation of Protrusive Forces.  Mol Cancer Res 2008 6: 1410-1420 doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-07-2174 (PDF)

(4) Mierke CT, Zitterbart DP, Kollmannsberger P, Raupach C, Schloetzer-Schrehardt U, Goecke T, Behrens J, Fabry B.Breakdown of barrier function of the endothelium in tumor cell transmigration. Biophys J 2008 94: 2832-2846 (PDF)

(3) Mierke CT, Kollmannsberger P, Zitterbart DP, Diez G, Smith J, Fabry B, Goldmann WH.Regulation of cell contractility through vinculin and its domains. Biophys J 94:661-670, 2008 (PDF)

(2) Metzner C, Raupach C, Zitterbart DP., Fabry B.Simple model of cytoskeletal fluctuations. Phys. Rev. E 76, 021925 (2007) (link)

(1) Raupach C*, Zitterbart DP.*, Mierke CT, Metzner C, Mueller FA, Fabry B. (*contributed equally). Stress fluctuations and motion of cytoskeletal-bound markers. Phys. Rev. E 76, 011918 (2007) (link)

In preparation:

Warren V.E*., Hersh T., Toscani C., Cammareri A., C. Clark., Zitterbart DP. “Multiscale temporal variability of southern right whale call parameters in Patagonia” in prep, to be submitted to submission to Journal of the Acoustical Society of America in Apr. 2017.

Warren V.E.*, Cammareri A.,Zitterbart DP. “Perception bias: how automatic detection and classification of southern right whale up calls is influenced by choice of software and parameter values,” in prep, to be submitted to submission to Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Zitterbart DP. and Lin YT. Underwater sound source localization using unsynchronized hydrophone arrays (in submission to JASA)

Morawetz F., Morawetz K., Zitterbart DP. Huddle-behavior simulation of emperor penguins.


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


  • 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)


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