Karen DeMatteo, PhD

DeMatteo (1)Lecturer – Environmental Studies at Washington University in St Louis
Research Scientist – Department of Biology at Washington University in St Louis
Adjunct Research Associate – WildCare Institute at the Saint Louis Zoo
Faculty – Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Químicas y Naturales at Universidad Nacional de Misiones (UNaM) in Posadas, Misiones, Argentina
Adjunct Assistant Professor – Department of Biology at University of Missouri-St Louis
Projects Officer – IUCN Canid Specialist Group

e-mail: kdematteo@aol.com or kdematteo@wustl.edu


Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO, Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 2004
University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, M.S. in Zoology and Physiology, 1995
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1991

Research Interests

While my research interests are diverse, they are focused on understanding the basic biology and ecological interactions that occur at both the species and community level. I have used a variety of approaches to address this research question including behavioral ecology, physiological ecology, reproductive physiology, general ecology, ecological genetics, and species’ distribution/status. My research has been conducted with both wild and captive populations, as the latter can provide insight into basic biological information that may be impossible to collect in the field. I have conducted field research in several Neotropical countries including Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The majority of these field studies have been focused on understanding the community structure of Neotropical carnivores.

Ongoing Project:

My main ongoing project is a collaborative study in Misiones, Argentina with colleagues from the UNaM, Instituto de Biología Subtropical, Grupo de Investigación en Genética Aplicada, Ministerio de Ecología, and Ministerio de Educación. The initial phases of this project were focused on using three noninvasive techniques (detection dogs to locate scats, genetic analyses of scats, and GIS technology) to quantify habitat preferences of five wide-ranging carnivores (jaguar, puma, ocelot, oncilla, and bush dog) and generate multispecies models that could identify optimal corridor locations that could effectively connect protected areas in northern and central Misiones. We are now entering the next phase of the project, which is aimed at making these corridors a reality. This phase consists of two main goals: 1) securing land owner participation in the corridor and 2) determining biodiversity in the corridor. With the latter, we are expanding beyond the five carnivores and including detection dog surveys of prey that are typically targeted by poachers (e.g., tapir, paca, and peccary).

There are several components that have helped in making this research program a success, including the involvement of local undergraduate/graduate students in the field work, extensive hands-on training programs on the noninvasive techniques used in this study, an intensive conservation education program for the primary/secondary schools in the region, and involvement of local agencies in all phases.

To learn more about this project and updates on its status, please visit www.facebook.com/gotscat.

Karen DeMatteo’s C.V.

DeMatteo (2)