Photography by Patty Brennan
I obtained my undergraduate degree in Marine Biology in my native Colombia, where I studied heart function of dolphins for my Honors Thesis. After I graduated I joined the R/V Odyssey, a 98 foot ketch doing research on marine mammal populations around the Galapagos Islands. I worked and lived on board for over a year, first in the Galapagos Islands and then in Coco's Island. I came to the USA to pursue a PhD., and after being accepted at Cornell University in the Neurobiology and Behavior program, I decided to switch from working on marine mammals, to working with birds. I worked on the elusive Great Tinamous (Tinamus major) for my PhD, and I discovered many unique aspects of their reproductive biology. I developed a strong interest in sexual selection and mating system evolution during this time. I also witnessed tinamou mating in the field, and saw my first bird penis... Since I was not even aware that birds had penises, I decided to investigate this further for my post-doctoral project. As they say, the rest is history. I started studying bird genitalia and have now expanded to examine snakes, bats- a project lead by Dr Teri Orr when she was a post-doc in my lab, dolphins, a project led by my current post-doc collaborator Dr. Dara Orbach, sharks and snakes. I live in Amherst, MA at the beautiful Amethyst Farm.