PhD, Researcher, Centro Nacional Patagonico-CONICET
Location: Argentine Patagonia
Research: Ecological Processes Affecting Mara (Dolichotis patagonum) Conservation in Argentina
Species/Topic: Mara (Dolichotis patagonum)
|Maras are large rodents endemic of Argentina, distributed across the arid lands from -28º in the north towards -50º in Southern Patagonia. Although maras are among the most representative mammals of South America, knowledge on the ecological processes affecting their conservation is scarce, and research on this species has been discontinued. First, mara's unique combination of monogamy and communal breeding would be the result of particular ecological conditions. Second, mara populations would be dwindling as a result of human-driven habitat loss and degradation. I propose to identify some ecological factors favoring communal breeding, and their relationship with breeding success and population abundance. Also, I will explore the possible association between ecological and human related factors with mara sociality and population parameters. The identification of habitat requirements has a fundamental importance for conservation, because it helps to predict how populations may react to disturbance. Thus, this knowledge becomes crucial when human activities threat the persistence of wild species.