I am a marine biologist, with an MSc degree in Ecology from the Universidade Federal do
Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). I’m mainly interested in the study of animal behavior with emphasis
on its mechanisms and evolutionary consequences. During my undergraduate and
graduate work, I investigated the behavioral ecology of the cleaner fish Elacatinus figaro.
Cleaner fish remove ectoparasites, dead tissue or mucus of other fish species, known as
clients, who visit the territory of the cleaner fish, i.e. the cleaning station. The outcome of
these interactions, both for cleaner fish and client fish, depends on the species involved and
the ecological context. The cleaning interactions and its variability are suitable study
models to understand which physiological and behavioral mechanisms and evolutionary
contexts could have given rise to cooperative behavior in different marine groups.
On my PhD, I will investigate the behavioral plasticity of other Caribbean Elacatinus species.
I intend to unveil the neuroendocrine mechanisms related to behavioral variation and its
evolutionary consequences for the studied species.
Mendes TC, Mazzei, R, Correal, GO, Ferreira, CEL. 2011. A new possible case of mimicry
between two Brazilian endemic reef fish. Marine Biodiversity Records, 4: 29.
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