Hi! Welcome

If you've come here, it's because you want to know more about me and my work. I invite you to know more about me below.

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About me

I'm a marine biologist and Ph D. from Chile, I have worked on the population ecology and health of marine mammals. My last project seeks to characterize and measure the level of macro and microplastic pollution in pinniped populations as well as the potential effects on the health of marine vertebrates and propose the pinnipeds as sentinels for marine environments. 

I am working on developing the effects of plastic in marine mammals research line in Chile, collaborating with international scientists to learn new techniques needed to go beyond actual knowledge.

My current project aims to evaluate the global warming effect over eco immunology of the fur seal population of Guafo Island (Chile) and how mother foraging strategies affect their offspring fitness.

As a marine biologist, my passion is the marine ecosystem`s health, and as a researcher, I put all my effort into the pursuit of the gaps of knowledge in science and create a new method to evaluate the effects of Anthropocene over pinniped populations.


I have experience creating new projects and leader small research teams. My first rule is to be always open to new collaborations, complementing the knowledge needed to cover a variety of questions

 
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EXPERIENCE

 

Rufford Small Grant (ID: 18815-1)
Feb. 2015- Jul. 2016

The sources and impact of plastic pollution on South American fur seals (Arctocephalus australis) in Chilean Patagonia.

Plastic pollution is one of the major threats to marine ecosystems. Although great efforts have been done to track and measure plastic pollution in Northern Hemisphere ecosystems, little is known about the anthropogenic impact on Southern Hemisphere oceans. Guafo Island is a remote and highly productive ecosystem located in Northern Pacific Patagonia, where we have detected high levels of plastic pollution in the reproductive grounds of marine birds, sea lions and fur seals. We aim to classify and track the origin and effects of macro/micro plastic pollution in the Guafo Island marine ecosystem using fur seals as a bio-indicator.

UNAB Initiation Project
Jul. 2018 - Mar. 2019

Evaluation of pinnipeds as sentinels of plastic pollution in marine ecosystems.

Plastic pollution is a threat for marine conservation, especially in isolated places, where there is lack of management plans. This project seeks to propose pinnipeds as sentinels of plastic pollution (macro and micro), as a non-invasive management tool in marine ecosystems. Especially in isolated areas with high biodiversity. Using data from Guafo Island (North Patagonia, Chile), and meta data from the world (Literature) we generated statistical models to evaluate the real subtitle effects of macroplastic entanglements and determined the most vulnerable population around the globe. Additionally, we detected microplastics in otariid`s feces across Perú and Chile, indicating the presence of microplastics in the food webs related to otariid`s colonies.

UNAB Society Relationship project
May - Jun. 2019

Study of plastic and its origin in the intertidal and subtidal of Quintay, Valparaiso Region: Beach Cleanups.

The development of urbanization generates impacts on marine ecosystems by discarding non-degradable waste, such as plastics. This project seeks to link academia and coastal communities with environmental science policies. Generating beach cleaning in Quintay that allows higher education students to collect, separate and study the plastic to know its origin and propose corrective actions in the community of Quintay. In addition, promote environmentally responsible behavior in the local community of Quintay (civil and business) from a day of environmental education, as well as know and learn about the types of plastics and their environmental reduction.

ANID postdoctoral Project (ID: 3210235).
Apr. 2021 - Apr. 2024

"Working moms": the effect of female foraging and nursing

Strategies on the health and fitness of fur seal pups

Environmental conditions influence the foraging behavior of top predators, such as pinnipeds, which affects maternal assistance patterns. Maternal assistance plays a critical role in the energy supply of offspring for growth, immune response, and, ultimately, their survival. However, the association between maternal foraging strategy and offspring immune competence remains a knowledge gap. Through the capture and field sampling of mothers and their offspring, we will test whether there is an "optimal foraging strategy" that maximizes offspring fitness. This project will help not only to understand the knowledge gap, but will also create a solid framework for predicting how human impacts (such as overexploitation or climate change) will affect an umbrella and sentinel population in Chilean Patagonia.

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EDUCATION

 

2019

Ph.D degree in Conservation Medicine.

University Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile

2017

Master degree in Marine Biology.

University Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile.

2014

Bachelor degree in Marine Biology.

University Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile.

My Papers

 

Perez-Venegas, D. J., Valenzuela-Sánchez, A., Montalva, F., Pavés, H., Seguel, M., Wilcox, C., & Galbán-Malagón, C. (2021). Towards understanding the effects of oceanic plastic pollution on population growth for a South American fur seal (Arctocephalus australis australis) colony in Chile. Environmental Pollution, 116881. DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2021.116881

 

"Nevertheless, just find plastic concentration in different environments and organisms is not enough, because the final goal of all these researches is find the source of pollution and create management policies."

 

Keep in touch

Genral las heras #1630, Santiago, Chile

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