I am a co-PI in a project (FAPESP/NSF Scales of Biodiversity) that seeks to investigate the relationship between aspects of the biology of different species of snakes with the interspecific and intraspecific variability of the venom. The research is conducted at Instituto Butantan, an institute known for the research on poisonous snakes and the production of antivenom in Brazil. The study of venom composition and variability involves different levels of organization, and one of the aspects explored is the… Read more
It was a Saturday afternoon in February 2019 when I received a message from Dr Vera da Silva from the National Institute for Amazonian Research inviting me to have dinner at her place with some visiting researchers. My plan for that night in Manaus, Brazil, was to have some friends at home before joining the biggest and wildest (and most famous) street party in Brazil, Carnival. For some reason, that invitation seemed more important than usual, and Carnival was… Read more
In bird species, the timing of nestling hatching can be synchronous, asynchronous, or semi-asynchronous (Lee and Lima, 2016). Many songbirds begin active incubation after laying their penultimate egg (second to last), which typically leads to synchronous hatching of all but the last nestling (White and Woolfenden, 1973). This hatching synchronicity results in nestlings of relatively equal size and body condition, except for the final nestling, which often has difficulty acquiring food in the presence of its larger siblings (Soley… Read more
I initiated my degree in 2019 with a branch project from an international research team studying the ecology and conservation of the migratory bird species Progne subis (Purple Martin). The main goal of my research was to find out if this species is facing contamination by environmental mercury in the Amazon Basin and if that correlates with changes to select hormones and/or body measurements. Mercury is a concerning contaminant that can impact virtually any and every system of an… Read more
I had the privilege of spending two days at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (https://www.utsouthwestern.edu/research/) in Dallas with Dr. Will Israelsen in April 2021. Dr. Israelsen studies the meadow jumping mouse, a small hibernating rodent, to understand how metabolic enzymes and pathways are regulated during hibernation. This lab exchange provided me the opportunity to discuss details of hibernation behavior and physiology; learn successful husbandry techniques and methods to similarly care for, create conditions conducive to hibernation… Read more
For the month of February I traveled from Ottawa, Canada to Las Vegas, Nevada to work under Dr. Frank van Breukelen at the University of Nevada to study tenrecs’ response to acute environmental hypoxia.
There are 34 species of tenrecs, ranging morphologically from what looks like a small field mouse to larger species which resemble otters! Dr. van Breukelen’s lab researches the common tenrec and houses the only research population in the world. Although they look like a small hedgehog… Read more