About Us

The Bird Ecology Lab is assigned to the Marine and Limnological Sciences Institute at Universidad Austral de Chile. Our research team, led by Dr. Juan G. Navedo, is composed of a permanent staff of two professionals, together with undergraduate and graduate students, plus postdoctoral researchers, motivated to contribute to society with knowledge regarding the natural history and ecology of Nearctic and Neotropical birds. Our work is based on experimental approximations, applied research, and long term monitoring programs, mainly with tagged birds. By 2018, we have collected samples from more than 3,000 birds (44 species).


Additionally, our lab contributes to the generation of leading-edge knowledge, and the training of advanced human capital, with scientists from different labs, universities and other institutions, doing research on the Eastern Pacific flyway, where the Chilean territory is located, and also other flyways worldwide. Specifically, we collaborate in the Global Flyway Ecology project, led by Professor Theunis Piersma


Juan G. Navedo – Director

Academician, Associate Professor at the Institute of Marine Science at Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh), Mr. Navedo received his education as Biologist from Universidad de Oviedo (Spain), and is a Doctor in Marine Science and Technology from Universidad de Cantabria (Spain). His main research focus is on migratory birds, with an emphasis on shorebirds. He runs multiple projects in basic science, applied research, and monitoring, with different bird species as models for study. He also collaborates with a broad network of national and international scientists, formally participating in the Global Flyway Ecology project.

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Head of the Bird Ecology Lab, and Director of the Quempillén Experimental Station, in Ancud, Chiloé (Chile), home of AustralAVEX experimental aviaries designed and equipped with leading edge technology, which allows for advanced research, mainly in the disciplines of ecophysiology, ecotoxicology, and behavioral ecology. Within UACh, he is part of the Faculty Board in different Graduate Programs, is a member of the Marine Biology School Council, and also of the Bioethics Subcommittee for the Use of Animals in Experimentation.

He is also a member of the Editorial Panel at the Journal for Nature Conservation, as well as performing as occasional Copy Editor at publications such as Animal Conservation, Aquatic Conservation, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Biological Conservation, Bird Conservation International, Ecological Modeling, Ecology and Evolution, Journal of Applied Ecology, Journal of Wildlife Management, PLoS ONE, Science of the Total Environment, among others. Currently, he is also an elected member of the Arctic Migratory Bird Initiative (AMBI) – Planning Group 4 (Reducing the threat of rice crops and shrimp farming in South America).

Office & Lab: Facultad de Ciencias, Campus Isla Teja s/n, Valdivia, Chile

AustralAVEX: Estación Experimental Quempillén, Ancud, Chiloé, Chile Telephone: +56 63 2 292550

Email: jgnavedo (at) uach.cl


Jorge Ruiz T. – Ornitólogo

A Veterinarian from Universidad Austral de Chile, Mr. Ruiz is a renowned ornithologist in Chile, and has dedicated his life to nature conservation, especially around birds and mammals from maritime ecosystems and humid zones. Other areas of interest include research on introduced species and their impact, and wildlife observation as a tourist activity (Special Interest Tourism) and a tool for conservation. He is currently Chief Ornithologist at the Lab, in charge of fieldwork execution in all active projects.

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A professional wildlife illustrator, he has designed and elaborated numerous environmental divulgation and educational materials, for diverse projects and institutions. Special select publications include the book “Aves de Chile – Sus Islas Oceánicas y Península Antártica. Una guía de campo ilustrada” (Chilean Birds – Oceanic Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, an Illustrated Field Guide), and others such as “Aves Rapaces de Chile” (Chilean Birds of Prey), and “Guía de campo de las aves y mamíferos marinos del Sur de Chile” (Field Guide of Marine Birds and Mammals in Southern Chile).

Lab: Facultad de Ciencias, Campus Isla Teja s/n, Valdivia, Chile

Telephone: +56 63 2 292550

Email: jorgeruiz00 (at) gmail.com

Bird Ecology Lab  www.cisnesconcollares.cl Bird ecology lab Cisnes con Collares Cisnes de cuello Negro

M.Sc. Johannes Horstmann – Asistente científico

A specialist in Sustainable Development and the Environment, Mr. Horstmann holds a B.Sc. in International Forest Ecosystem Management from Eberswalde University (Germany), and a M.Sc. in Regional Development Planning and Management, from the University of Dortmund (Germany) and Universidad Austral de Chile.

An ornithologist with field experience in the coasts and forests in Germany, Mauritania, Haiti and Chile, he is part of the Lab’s technical team since 2017.

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He has also worked at the Environmental Management Unit, and in Biomass projects, in the Faculty of Forestry Sciences at UACh. Before arriving in Chile, he worked for the German Agency for International Cooperation, and for the Environment and Energy Unit at the United National Development Programme, in Haiti.

Lab: Facultad de Ciencias, Campus Isla Teja s/n, Valdivia, Chile

Telephone: +56 63 2 292550

Email: jhorstmann (at) uach.cl

Postdoctoral Researchers

Natalia S. Martínez-Curci

A Biologist and Doctor in Biological Sciences from Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ms. Martínez-Curci is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Coastal Solutions Program, from Cornell Lab of Ornithology (USA) and Universidad Austral de Chile.

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Her work has focused on research and conservation projects in coastal ecosystems in South America, studying primarily the ecology of aquatic migratory birds, considering trophic aspects and habitat usage patterns in different spatial and temporal scales. To date, she has published over ten articles, including publications in SCI magazines, book appendixes and chapters in the fields of ornithology, ecology, and biodiversity conservation. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Coastal Solutions program (www.solucionescosteras.org). In that context, she carries out research regarding the distribution, abundance, trophic requirements, and physiology of shorebirds who spend their non-reproductive periods in Chiloé, in association with the Lab, and focusing on the potential effects of marine algae farming and collection. These studies will be the basis to generate an adaptive management model that makes it possible to reduce the impact of aquaculture on shorebirds on a global scale.

Email: nanusmc (at) gmail.com

Dra. Sara M. Rodríguez

A Biologist and Doctor in Marine Biology from Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh), Ms. Rodríguez is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the  Institute of Limnological and Marine Sciences of UACh, funded by FONDECYT.

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Her research interest is about the ecology of aquatic organisms, considering trophic aspects and parasite transmission. Within the latter, her research focuses on the ecological role of parasites in marine ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales. She is also interested in understanding the patterns and processes that determine infections at individual, population and community level; therefore she analyses parasite life cycles and transmission mechanisms, using field and experimental approaches and molecular tools. Until now, Sara has published diverse ISI articles in ecology, genetic, taxonomy and physiology. From March 2019 to March 2022 she will be postdoctoral researcher funded by FONDECYT, studying the parasitic manipulation phenomenon as a mechanism that facilitates parasite transmission, and the parasite avoidance behaviour as a strategy to decrease parasite transmission, in two predator-prey-parasite (PPP) systems on the Southern Pacific coast in Chile. With the expected results she intends to help improving our knowledge about the relative relevance of these two contrasting mechanisms, allowing for a partial characterization of PPP dynamics.

Email:  saramrodriz (at) gmail.com

Postgraduate Candidate

Enzo Basso

A Veterinarian from Universidad Austral de Chile, Mr. Basso has worked as a volunteer in diverse rehabilitation centers, where he acquired experience in wildlife management.

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He joined the Lab towards the end of 2014, interested in obtaining scientific tools to take on issues that relate to bird ecology and conservation. In this context, he participated in the Master’s of Science program at UACh, with a specialty in Applied Ecology, working in a research project with Nearctic migratory birds, in Mazatlan, Mexico, financed by Environment Canada. He is currently a CONICYT fellow, in his first year as a PhD candidate, with a specialty in ecology and evolution, at UACh. He has began developing his doctoral thesis on factors relating to time-space connectivity and interaction between predator and prey in long-distance migratory bird populations, using the Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica as a model for study.

Email: ebassoq (at) gmail.com

Camila Gherardi

A Marine Biologist and Master in Marine Biology from Universidad Andrés Bello, Ms. Gherardi is a student in the Marine Biology doctoral program at Universidad Austral de Chile.

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Previously, she has done studies in Tierra del Fuego on the King Penguin Aptenodytes patagonicus, capturing and deploying TDR tags in these animals. She is currently a CONICYT fellow, developing her doctoral thesis, using the Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica as a model for study, seeking to understand what factors determine their distribution in the Island of Chiloé, with tools including genetics and physiology.

Email: camil.gherardi (at) gmail.com

Jonathan Vergara Amado

Marine Biologist from the Universidad Austral de Chile.
He is a CONICYT doctoral fellow in his second year of the PhD program in Natural Sciences on Ecology and Evolution at Universidad Austral de Chile.

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Before joining the Bird Ecology Lab in March 2019, he participated as a research assistant in studies for the diagnosis of the state of Río Cruces Wetland. Later he joined the project FONDECYT 11140680 (“A transcriptomic approach for the study of Apis mellifera in Chile: physiological susceptibility to poor nutrients and insecticides, in order to elucidate the effects of residual doses of insecticide on physiology of bees”) as a part-time research technician. Paralelly, he worked as a technician in the genomics laboratory of Austral-Omics, in charge of preparing massive sequencing libraries and operate ABI DNA sequencer and Illumina MiSeq Next Generation Sequencer equipments.
He is currently developping his doctoral thesis, evaluating the dynamics of the gut microbiota of Hudsonian godwits at a temporal and spatial scale, in addition to identifying factors that may generate differences at the individual level (e.g. sex, age, condition).

Gonzalo Torres-Fuentes

A Veterinarian from Universidad de Concepción, Mr. Torres-Fuentes is currently enrolled in the Master of Sciences Applied Ecology program, at Universidad Austral de Chile.

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He has participated in multiple research projects focusing on the study of diseases present in animal wildlife, with a special emphasis in vector-transmitted conditions. On the other hand, he has been involved in environmental baseline and impact studies, for different renewable energies projects. He has begun developing his Master’s thesis on the physiological aspects of long-distance migration preparation, using the Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica as a model for study.

Email: gonzalotorresmv (at) gmail.com

Gabriela Biscarra

An engineer in Natural Resources Conservation, and M.Sc. in Forests and the Environment, both from Universidad Austral de Chile, Ms. Biscarra developed her Master’s thesis at the Lab, evaluating early response in two bird species, after silviculture management on secondary forests in southern Chile.

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At the Lab, she contributes with capture, bird ringing, morphometry, acoustic census, and data collection regarding vegetation in forest ecosystems. She has actively collaborated in different projects at the Lab, using the Green-backed Firecrown Sephanoides sephaniodes as a model for study: radio telemetry tracking in native forests and tree plantations, and the EXPLORA scientific-educational project “Abramos Nuestros Laboratorios” (Let’s Open Our Labs). In 2018, she was a member of the team that developed the ‘Recensus of bird communities in the tropical forest at the Manu National Park, Peru.’

Email: gaby.biscarra (at) gmail.com

Undergraduate Students

Rolando Ampuero. Engineering in Natural Resources Conservation Thesis Student at Universidad Austral de Chile. He joined the Lab in 2018.

Estudiantes Egresados

Valeria Araya. Ms. Araya joined BEL in 2016, collaborating in field campaigns, and lending support in divulgation activities. She has worked as a teacher’s assistant in zoology, invertebrates, and ecology.  She was an intern at the UACh animal anatomy lab, learning about bird taxidermy and maceration. She developed her undergraduate thesis exploring the presence of antibiotic resistance in the intestinal flora of the Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica.

Claudia Valle.A Biologist from Universidad de Barcelona (Spain) and Universidad Austral de Chile, she defended her undergraduate thesis in 2017, analyzing wetland habitat quality for assembling passerine birds.


Candela Berenguer. Marine Biologist from Universidad de Cádiz (Spain) and Universidad Austral de Chile, she defended her undergraduate thesis in 2016, estimating the daily intake rate of prey in the Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica, in two bays in Chiloé.

Nadja Bello. Marine Biologist from Universidad Austral de Chile, she defended her undergraduate thesis in 2015, analyzing macrobenthos communities and their function as food for shorebirds, in two bays in Chiloé.