Rosana N. Moraes is a senior research fellow at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Species Survival. She joined SCBI in 2017, and her research focuses on applying biologging technology to better understand the internal responses of wildlife to human influence and environmental changes. Moraes is currently studying two endangered species, the scimitar-horned oryx and the maned wolf. Her focus is to generate validated protocols and integrated databases, including heart rate, behavior and hormone levels, to leverage wildlife welfare and conservation.
Moraes’ projects include:
- Generating baseline heart rate data for wildlife species by using a miniaturized implantable heart monitor
- Investigating external (behavioral) and internal (heart rate and hormone level) responses of wildlife to perceived threats
- Developing computational and statistic tools for the analysis of large datasets from heart monitors
Along with a team of SCBI biologists and external collaborators, Moraes’ pioneering work provided the first non-anesthetic heart rate values for maned wolves and oryx, and confirmed that behaviors do not always reflect the internal responses to perceived threats. She is an expert on animal physiology, working with wildlife species in human care and in their native habitats, especially in Brazil. Her work with biologging technology can be used to address important challenges in the care and conservation of many species.
Moraes earned her D.V.M. at the São Paulo State University and her master's and doctorate degrees in veterinary science at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. As a visiting researcher at SCBI in 1995, Moraes worked with SCBI research physiologist Janine Brown on noninvasive endocrine monitoring in small felids. She also later collaborated with SCBI researchers Budhan Pukazhenti, Nucharin Songsasen and David Wildt, on projects with her graduate students at the Federal University of Parana, where she is a professor in the department of physiology. Moraes' studies focus on stress and reproductive physiology and toxicology in an array of species, including wild felids and canids.
In her childhood, Moraes and her five siblings could freely explore the mysteries of what they believed to be a real tropical forest, located in their backyard in a small town in Brazil. From the top of the mango trees they could observe all sort of creatures, from ants to blue macaws. At the age of 10, Moraes had three favorite things: mangos, animals and taking on the role of teacher when playing pretend school. Those passions from her early life led her to pursue veterinary school, science and a career in the field of biodiversity conservation. And yes, mangos are still her favorite fruit.