Morgan Bragg is a graduate student researcher at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Center for Conservation Genomics and Center for Species Survival. Bragg’s dissertation focuses on understanding the origins of gastrointestinal health issues in captive canid species. She is specifically interested in host-microbiome-environmental interactions and their influence on host health.

Morgan Bragg's projects include:

  • Identifying the relationship between fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (a physiological response to stressors) and the gut microbiome in captive red wolves (Canis rufus)
  • Establishing the role of diet, host genetics and housing on the gut microbiome and gastrointestinal health in captive maned wolves (Chrysocyon brachyurus)
  • Characterizing the gut microbiome of wild maned wolves

Bragg earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2016; her master’s degree at George Mason University in 2019; and is currently working on her doctorate at George Mason University. 



An estimated 25 percent of carnivores are in danger of extinction. Smithsonian scientists are working to save them.

Microbiomes and Metagenomics

Smithsonian scientists are working to uncover the earth's incredible diversity of microorganisms and to understand how they impact plant, animal and ecosystem health.

Non-invasive and Environmental DNA

Scientists can learn a lot about an animal just from the things it leaves behind, such as hair, feathers, feces, saliva or shed skin.