Meredith Root-Bernstein

Meredith Root-Bernstein

Paris, France

Instituto de Ecología y Biodiversidad, Chile; Sciences for Action and Development: Activities, Products, Territories, National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA), Paris, France

Marie-Curie FP7 COFUND Agreenskills Post Doctoral Fellow

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Published on Nov 04, 2017

Spotting the released guanacos!

Please see my blog for an update on the story of the guanacos: https://degusyguanacos.wordpress.com/2017/11/04/pruebas-y-tribulaciones-de-los-guanacos-trials-and-tribulations-of-the-guanacos/Por fa...

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Published on Jul 23, 2017

Liberación de los guanacos: la historia-- release of the guanacos: the story

Lee la historia aca: https://degusyguanacos.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/liberacion-de-los-guanacos-release-of-the-guanacos/Read the whole story here: https://degusyguanacos.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/li...

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Published on May 29, 2017

Do guanacos eat the fruits of endangered trees? ¿Los guanacos comen las frutas de árboles vulnerables a la extinción?

English below...El guanaco antiguamente tuvo una distribución continua a lo largo de Chile. El efecto que su presencia tenía en el ecosistema resulta una incógnita, más cuando hoy e...

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Published on Apr 21, 2017

¡Exito! We made it!

Thank you to everyone who donated to make the guanaco release possible!  I am really touched that so many people wanted to help us start this next phase of our research, putting conservation in act...

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Published on Mar 23, 2017

In the beginning: how the project started.

Where did the idea of reintroducing guanacos to central Chile come from?  It all started when I was doing some field work for my PhD at La Rinconada field station in Chile and a tru...

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Nice photos! Thanks for the offer! That would be great. We will let you know.
Apr 11, 2017
Restoring Chilean woodlands with reintroduced guanacos!
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Daniela, thanks for your support! No need to be ashamed, I think crowdfunding is a new concept in Chile. I know lots of people are giving their moral support too.
Apr 10, 2017
Restoring Chilean woodlands with reintroduced guanacos!
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Gracias!
Apr 09, 2017
Restoring Chilean woodlands with reintroduced guanacos!
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Hello Pablo, The 5 guanacos that we have continue to show anti-predator behaviours appropriate for avoided puma predation. There are very few pumas left in central Chile, and at the site in question there have been horses for a long time, including juveniles, with no reports of puma predation on them. The bigger problem is that guanacos are not good at avoiding feral dogs. (There are also no feral dogs detected at the site where we are working.) Feral dogs are a big problem in Chile for all wildlife, so a large-scale reintroduction of guanacos probably requires resolving that problem first. One way would be to find a legal way to control feral dogs in Chile. Another approach would be to test training guard animals, such as donkeys, which have been used successfully to protect livestock from predators in other contexts. We are going one step at a time.
Apr 04, 2017
Restoring Chilean woodlands with reintroduced guanacos!
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Hello Pablo, The 5 guanacos that we have continue to show anti-predator behaviours appropriate for avoided puma predation. There are very few pumas left in central Chile, and at the site in question there have been horses for a long time, including juveniles, with no reports of puma predation on them. The bigger problem is that guanacos are not good at avoiding feral dogs. Feral dogs are a big problem in Chile for all wildlife, so a large-scale reintroduction of guanacos probably requires resolving that problem first. One way would be to find a legal way to control feral dogs in Chile. Another approach would be to test training guard animals, such as donkeys, which have been used successfully to protect livestock from predators in other contexts. We are going one step at a time.
Apr 04, 2017
Restoring Chilean woodlands with reintroduced guanacos!
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Hi Agustín, Thanks for your comment. The Marín paper does show significant differences between populations of guanacos, and the meaning of those differences is that the populations are in the process of becoming subspecies. Despite some people previously claiming that there are four subspecies of guanacos, this paper finds no evidence of that. The paper states, "...guanacos exhibit a low genetic diversity for the cytochrome-b gene (p 1⁄4 0.01013) and the control region (p 1⁄4 0.00627), when compared with other related species with extensive distributions... we did not recover clustering of subspecies...We believe that this structuring [which does not support the claimed subspecies] might be due to fragmentation of populations (as shown in the distributional range of the species in Fig. 1) and isolation by distance...As we stated above, the structuring of northern populations may be due to isolation of populations in an initial phase of genetic differentiation." Consequently, I think there is an argument that the populations of guanacos in different regions should actually be connected genetically to facilitate gene flow, not further separated. But additionally, in our project, the 5 guanacos are castrated males, and will not be reproducing. If all goes well, we can consult carefully with experts and with SAG about what genetic background to introduce for reproductive populations.
Apr 04, 2017
Restoring Chilean woodlands with reintroduced guanacos!
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Hi Augustín, Thanks for your comment. The Marín paper does show significant differences between populations of guanacos, and the meaning of those differences is that the populations are in the process of becoming subspecies. Despite some people previously claiming that there are four subspecies of guanacos, this paper finds no evidence of that. The paper states, "...guanacos exhibit a low genetic diversity for the cytochrome-b gene (p 1⁄4 0.01013) and the control region (p 1⁄4 0.00627), when compared with other related species with extensive distributions... we did not recover clustering of subspecies...We believe that this structuring [which does not support the claimed subspecies] might be due to fragmentation of populations (as shown in the distributional range of the species in Fig. 1) and isolation by distance...As we stated above, the structuring of northern populations may be due to isolation of populations in an initial phase of genetic differentiation." Consequently, I think there is an argument that the populations of guanacos in different regions should actually be connected genetically to facilitate gene flow, not further separated. But additionally, in our project, the 5 guanacos are castrated males, and will not be reproducing. If all goes well, we can consult carefully with experts and with SAG about what genetic background to introduce for reproductive populations.
Apr 04, 2017
Restoring Chilean woodlands with reintroduced guanacos!
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Thanks!
Mar 20, 2017
Restoring Chilean woodlands with reintroduced guanacos!
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