I am a marine biologist and currently a PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales. I grew up in a small beach town in the north of Chile, so the ocean has always been part of my life. My greatest passion is marine mammals. I am especially interested in the ecology and physiology of these wonderful animals.
CURRENT WORK / RESEARCH
I'm currently studying marine mammal’s fat, or blubber, in order to learn a bit more about their feeding ecology and also their physiology. How does this work?
PAST EDUCATION & WORK
I completed my undergraduate studies in Chile, my home country, at the Universidad Católica del Norte, in Coquimbo. During my honours research, I worked on mother-pup behaviour in the South American sea lion.
SCHOLARSHIPS / GRANTS / AWARDS
2015 – Student travel grant by The Society of Marine Mammalogy
2015 - Conference travel fund by the Postgraduate Research Student Support, UNSW
2014 - SCAR Open Science Conference - Best Poster Presentation
2013 – Overseas doctorate scholarship by Becas Chile
2007 - First Conference of Marine Science Students (Chile) – Best Oral Presentation
Find my Publications
Feeding ecology: Blubber and dietary predictions
When a predator eats, the fatty acids obtained from its prey are transferred with minimal modification into its blubber.
Thus, fatty acids in the predator blubber can give us information on what this animal has been eating.
In order to obtain accurate predictions it is important to know if fatty acids obtained from diet are uniformly distributed across the blubber core. I studied the composition and distribution of fatty acids in leopard seals and the implications for dietary inference. You can check out this study
You can check out this study here
Physiology: Role of fatty acids in thermoregulation
But not all fatty acids are obtained from diet. Sometimes animals need to make or modify fatty acids in order to fulfil their body demands. I am currently studying the role of fatty acids in thermoregulation. The quality of insulation can be improved by changing the type of fatty acids making up the blubber. I am looking at the effect of environmental temperatures in the blubber composition of mammals inhabiting extremely different climates.