Luciana Pozzi

Doctoral Candidate (CENPAT-CONICET)

I was born in Rosario, Argentina. In 1998, I moved to Puerto Madryn to study biology at the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco, driven by my interest in marine wildlife. While a student, I was involved in several research and conservation projects with different species, from shore counts and necropsies on Southern Right Whales, to several aspects of aquatic and seabird life history (Kelp gulls, Dolphin gulls, Hooded grebes). I joined the Magellanic Penguin Project as a volunteer in 2001 at Punta Tombo where I ended up working for my undergrad thesis guided by Dr. Miguel Pascual (CENPAT-CONICET) and Dr. Dee Boersma. I finished my undergrad studies in 2005 looking at the colony attendance behavior of different age-classes of Magellanic penguins that showed up on the beaches.

In 2008, I started my phD, with a fellowship from CONICET (the National Research Council in Argentina) with the project entitled “Magellanic penguin population dynamics in Northern and Central Patagonia”. My daily work is at CENPAT (Centro Nacional Patagónico-CONICET, Argentina), under the supervision of Dr. Pablo García Borboroglu, Dr. Miguel Pascual and Dr. Dee Boersma.


My exposure with different species brought me the opportunity to learn about different life histories and backgrounds, and I ended up finding my research’s interests are in a much broader perspective than that of any single species. Wildlife populations are dynamic, and so it is the marine environment. It is crucial to understand how these populations are regulated and how they interact with the environment- the environment in which they depend on to survive, in order to produce effective conservation decisions. This is why I ended up in what is known as Quantitative Conservation Biology.

My PhD project aims at increasing the understanding of Magellanic penguin colonies population dynamics through a demographic perspective and at a regional scale. The study focuses on seven different colonies, spread along the North and Central coast in Patagonia, each one represents different environmental conditions for penguins. Among other goals, I will assess trends in these penguin colonies, see if there is dispersion of penguins from Punta Tombo to other colonies and if there is a relationship between the dynamics of individual colonies and the proximity to food sources, the condition of individual birds, and demographic parameters. Finally, I will build up a meta-population model that accounts for the dynamics of the different colonies and the connectivity between them.