Karina Montero, Ph.D.
Tierökologie & Naturschutz
Key aspects of activity
- Programming language R
- NGS (Illumina platform)
- Population genetics
- -Behavioral ecology
- -Movement ecology
- -Conservation genetics
Association between MHC variability and pathogen burden in mouse lemurs
(Joint project with Prof. Simone Sommer, University of Ulm, Germany)
The extensive genetic polymorphism of the major histocompability complex (MHC) has been attributed to the co-evolutionary dynamics following host-pathogen interactions. This association is framed within the central role that MHC genes play in the vertebrate immune response, leading to the expectation that variability of allele combinations at the host level is driven by ongoing pathogenic pressure. I use high-throughput genomic sequencing to examine whether the patterns of variability of MHC molecules predict pathogen prevalence in mouse lemurs. The study of wild populations will allows us to examine the adaptive processes underlying host-pathogen interactions in a target species from the vulnerable forests of Madagascar.
Roosting ecology, acoustic communication and movement patterns of leaf roosting bats
The limited availability of refuges represents a major ecological constraint promoting the evolution of sociality, particularly in bats. My Ph.D. project examined the role of ephemeral shelters shaping the behavioural strategies and communication system of Spix's disc winged bats (Thyroptera tricolor). I used video, acoustic and automated radio-telemetry devices to monitor free-ranging bats. Additionally, I studied the geographic variation of social calls in relation to genetic distance of populations isolated by a geographic barrier. This work provides a comprehensive picture of natural patterns of behavior and increases our understanding of the role of shelter stability in the evolution of animal social systems.
- Gillingham M., Montero B.K., Wilhelm K., Grudzus K., Sommer S., & Santos P. 2019. A novel workflow to improve multi-locus genotyping of wildlife species: an experimental set-up with a known model system. bioRxiv, 638288.
- Montero B.K., Refaly E., Ramanamanjato J.-B., Randriatafika F., Rakotondranary,S.J., Wilhelm K., Ganzhorn J.U., Sommer S., 2019. Challenges of next‐generation sequencing in conservation management: Insights from long‐term monitoring of corridor effects on the genetic diversity of mouse lemurs in a fragmented landscape. Evolutionary Applications. DOI: 10.1111/eva.12723
- Montero B.K., Sagot M., Phillips C.D., Baker R.J., Gillam E. H. 2018. Geographic variation of contact calls suggest distinct modes of vocal transmission in a leaf-roosting bat. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 72(8), 125.
- Gillam, E. H. & Montero, B. K. 2016. Influence of call structure on the jamming avoidance response of echolocating bats. Journal of Mammalogy, 97(1), 14–22. http://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyv147
- Montero, B. K. & Gillam, E. H. 2015. Behavioural strategies associated with using an ephemeral roosting resource in Spix’s disc-winged bat, Animal Behaviour, 108: 81-89 http://dx.doi.org/10/106/janbehav.2015.07.2014
- Gillam, E. H., Chaverri, G., Montero, K. & Sagot, M. 2013. Social Calls Produced within and near the Roost in Two Species of Tent-Making Bats, Dermanura watsoni and Ectophylla alba. PloS ONE, 8(4), e61731.
2016 - present: Post doc, Zoological Institute, University of Hamburg, Germany
Research project: Environmental and anthropogenic effects on the health status of lemur species: interaction of immune gene variation (MHC) and pathogens in lemurs
2010 - 2015: Ph. D. in Zoology, North Dakota State University, Fargo, USA (Advisor: Dr. Erin H. Gillam)
Thesis title: “Social and Acoustic Behavior of the Leaf-Roosting Bat Thyroptera tricolor”
- 2005 - 2010: B. Sc. in Biology, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica