Mauricio Seguel

Robert C. Anderson Memorial Award 2020

Mauricio Seguel, who completed his Ph.D. in 2018 at the College of Veterinary Medicine, is a postdoctoral research associate in the Odum School of Ecology. He focused his doctoral research on a disease caused by a nematode parasite—the hookworm Uncinaria sp.—that kills fur seal pups in the Chilean region of Patagonia. Seguel conducted a field expedition to Patagonia’s Guafo Island, where the largest breeding colony of South American fur seals is located. He studied patterns of hookworm infection in South American fur seal pups over multiple years and linked this information to data on nutrition, immune reactivity, maternal attendance behavior and sea surface temperature. He also identified connections among warmer ocean temperatures, maternal behavior and pup mortality due to hookworm. By developing tools from ecology, immunology, physiology and statistics, Seguel illustrated the diverse mechanisms by which environmental change can negatively affect wildlife health and also revealed potential avenues for intervention.