Ph. D. María Gabriela Palacios
My line of research is based predominantly on ecoimmunology, that is, the study of immune function in wildlife. The immune system is the main physiological defense against pathogens and parasites, thus, its maintenance is essential for organismal health and survival. My studies integrate diverse measures of immune function, evaluating their usefulness as tools to quantify the effects of natural and anthropogenic environmental changes on wild animals. In order to understand how specific environmental changes affect immunity, it is important to understand the many factors that determine immune function of individuals in their natural habitats. Thus, I am also interested in how immune function varies with the age and sex of individuals, their body condition and health state, their life history strategy and habitat characteristics, among other relevant factors. I am currently working on projects involving birds (marine and terrestrial), reptiles (snakes and lizards), and fish (teleost and sharks).