Dr Caroline Sartor
My research has been centered on the use of habitat suitability models, connectivity models, spatially explicit population models and conservation genetics/genomics to understand the influence of landscape and environmental features on the distribution, habitat use, population connectivity, evolution, and genetic structure of carnivores, helping to determine conservation actions and clarifying their taxonomy and evolutionary history. I also have great interest in understanding how the use of different data types and analysis methods may impact management decisions, such as the influence of different approaches to estimating resistance layers for connectivity modeling.
I obtained a MSc in Animal Biology from the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in 2016, working with conservation genetics of the Pampa’s cat (Leopardus colocola munoai) in southern Brazil and Uruguay, a highly threatened subspecies. During my PhD, also at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, I worked with conservation genetics and landscape ecology of two species of small Neotropical cats (L. guttulus and L. geoffroyi). These two species inhabit very altered biomes and present mainly allopatric distributions, but at the edge of their distribution they coexist and hybridize, presenting one of the widest hybrid zones between wild carnivores. With habitat suitability models I was able to demonstrate that habitat conversion influences the dynamics of this hybrid zone, potentially favoring hybrids over parental species and presenting significant consequences for these species’ conservation. I also compared the effectiveness of two approaches in explaining movement driving gene flow for these species and determined conservation priority areas for them.
More recently, I was a post-doctoral researcher at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, working with landscape genetics of jaguars in Pantanal and conservation genomics of the same species across all Brazilian biomes, aiming to understand the impact of habitat alteration on population connectivity and genetic diversity.
Now, I am part of the Southeast Asia felid conservation program team, at WildCRU, working on integrating spatial modelling analysis of ecological processes with biodiversity datasets based on a decade of camera-trapping in Southeast Asia.