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Comparative ecophysiology of vertebrates in the wild and in captivity and their study using non-invasive techniques

Grant number: 19/04966-3
Support type:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: October 20, 2019 - November 29, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology - Compared Physiology
Principal researcher:Erika Hingst-Zaher
Grantee:Erika Hingst-Zaher
Visiting researcher: Kathleen Ellen Hunt
Visiting researcher institution: Northern Arizona University, United States
Home Institution: Instituto Butantan. Secretaria da Saúde (São Paulo - Estado). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Dr. Kathleen Hunt of Northern Arizona University (USA) is a vertebrate endocrinologist with particular expertise in the evaluation of stress in captive vertebrates, with particular focus on assessment of stress and reproduction of mammals, birds and reptiles in the wild and in the captive environment. Her work has been centered in developing and applying innovative techniques for ecophysiology studies using non invasive sample types. These techniques allow measurement of hormones in non-plasma sample types, many of which can be collected without stressing the animal - feces, claw, and shed skins in the case of reptiles, and fur, feather, or respiratory vapor for birds and mammals. In addition, museum specimens of some of these sample types can enable us to "look back in time" decades or even centuries, to compile information on stress and reproduction in past populations as compared to present populations, or in wild populations as compared to captive ones.During her visit, Dr. Hunt will (1) work on ongoing projects with Dr. Hingst-Zaher and other researchers at Instituto Butantan; (2) prepare one of the laboratories at Instituto Butantan to conduct analyses on vertebrate endocrinology, (3) collect and analyze samples of snake skins, feathers and whale baleens; (4) teach a graduate hands-on course that will allow the students to learn about sample selection and processing, data analysis and interpretation; (5) give a series of talks at the University of São Paulo (USP) and at the Universities of the State of São Paulo (UNESP) at Jaboticabal and Rio Claro; and (6) establish collaboration with other researchers and students. (AU)

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