Mauricio Cantor

Assistant Professor

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Office: (541) 867-0357

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Research/Career Interests: 

I am behavioral ecologist interested in understanding the dynamics of social, cultural and ecological systems and other networked biological phenomena by combining multiple types empirical data on social animals and multiple analytical and modeling tools. I enjoy engaging in theory-driven research that is empirically-based and has real-world implications for conservation of wildlife, human welfare and the environment we share. 

I joined the Marine Mammal Institute and the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Sciences at Oregon State University in the Fall 2021 as an Assistant Professor, after receiving a BSc in Biological Sciences and a MSc in Ecology in Brazil, a PhD in Biology in Canada, and after enjoying a series of postdoctoral appointments in Brazil, Germany and Switzerland. My research has been primarily focused on the ecology of vertebrates dealing with the fundamental life challenges in the marine realm. My research lies at the intersections of human dimensions and marine mammal ecology, as these species show remarkable behavioral diversities, learning abilities, social complexities, a multitude of both positive and negative interactions — not to mention the exciting fieldwork challenges that come with studying them — but my interests expand to a broad range of other biological phenomena. Over the recent years, I have been collaborating on a range of theoretical and empirical projects that investigate the structure and function of networked biological systems (from molecules to ecosystems) and the dynamics of social and cultural lives of human and non-human animals. 

I am excited to develop a diverse program for integrative research on interacting organisms that combines behavioral ecology and ecological interactions. The Lab for Animal Behavioural Interaction Research in the Ocean (LABIRINTO) aims to address three major questions: how individual behaviour is shaped by interactions with both the physical and social environments; how the collection of such interactions shape both positive (e.g. cooperation, mutualism) and negative interactions (e.g. predation, depredation) among species; how the resultant ecological and cultural processes feedback onto the behaviour of individuals. More recently, we have been interested in interactions on the interface of terrestrial and marine environments, particularly how humans interact with marine wildlife—both positively and negatively. Combining theoretical models with empirical data on marine megafauna (primarily, small and large toothed whales), we aim to illuminate the ecological drivers and consequences of such human-wildlife interactions, to understand and predict the conditions under which they can flip between positive and negative.

PhD in Biology, Dalhousie University, Canada
MSc in Ecology, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil
BSc (teaching) in Biological Sciences, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil
Professional Affiliations: 
Department of Ecology and Zoology, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil
Center for Marine Studies, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil
School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies, Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, Germany
Conservation Behavior Committee, Animal Behavior Society
Affiliated with: 
Laboratory for Animal Behavioral Interaction Research (LABIRINTO)
Marine Mammal Institute
Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, & Conservation Sciences
Courses Taught: 
FW499/599 Socioecology of Marine Megafauna; FW466/566 Behavior and Ecology of Social Animals; FW426/526 Coastal Ecology and Resource Management; FW307 Winter Seminar in Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation; FW568 Human Dimensions of Marine Mammal Conserva
Hatfield Marine Science Center
Beyond OSU
My Publications