Claudia Véliz


My name is Claudia Véliz and I am currently working at WWF-Perú. I have been working on different topics in ecology; however my passion is focused on the interplay between environmental cues and phenotypic plasticity in behavioural responses. In the Amazon flooded forest, freshwater turtle oviposition is coupled with river flow dynamics, and the recent extreme hydrologic events have the potential to disturb reproductive cycles in space and time. Regarding to time, I developed an age based population model to test different oviposition timing strategies, which will be coupled with a climate change hydrologic event generator model. Spatially, oviposition site selection for riverine turtles can be driven either by the use of personal or social information. However, recent results suggest that site selection is mostly driven by social information especially when environmental cues become highly unpredictable due to rapid changes. Two competing hypotheses can explain social information use in this case:  (1)  nest clumping as a result of social interactions to find the best location and maximize offspring survival, reducing the cost of independent individual assessments, or (2) nest clumping as a result of female gregarious behaviour to reduce female predation. In this course I expect to improve my skills to develop a model to evaluate the outcome of these two competing hypothesis using the producer-scrounger framework, and the oviposition site quality (which is reduced during extreme events) as a limited resource.