Mrinalini Watsa

Mrinalini (Mini) Watsa is a wildlife biologist studying conservation biology through investigations of tropical disease ecology, animal behavior, and wildlife health, with a focus on utilizing genetics and genomics via portable field laboratories for in situ investigations. Previously, she had been a Visiting Assistant Professor in physical anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis where she managed the Primate Molecular Ecology Laboratory, but now she is a Scientist at the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, Institute of Conservation Research. Mini is also a co-founder of Field Projects International in 2009, and remains a senior research scientist. She is also an avid science writer (see examples of her work here and here), and a member of the Global Forest Reporting Network. You can visit her professional page here

Areas of Active Research:

  • Reproduction, survival, and development in free-ranging populations of tamarins in southeastern Peru
  • The population genetics of wild populations of Callitrichids, and how genetic chimerism may be linked to life history traits
  • Callitrichine visual perception and olfactory communication
  • Vocal divergence and sexual signals in sympatric tamarins
  • Neotropical wildlife community movement dynamics
  • Wildlife trace DNA detection
Photo credit: Jorge Mendoza-Silva

Selected Publications:

  • Watsa, M., Wildlife Disease Surveillance Focus Group, 2020. Rigorous wildlife disease surveillance. Science; 369 (6500): 145-147 DOI: 10.1126/science.abc0017
  • Watsa, M., Erkenswick, G.A., Pomerantz, A. and Prost, S., 2020. Portable sequencing as a teaching tool in conservation and biodiversity research. PLoS Biology, 18(4), p.e3000667.
  • Watsa, M., Erkenswick, G. and Robakis, E., 2017. Modeling developmental class provides insights into individual contributions to infant survival in callitrichids. International Journal of Primatology, 38(6), pp.1032-1057.
  • Watsa, M., Erkenswick, G., Halloran, D., Kane, E.E., Poirier, A., Klonoski, K., Cassalett, S., Maciag, E., Mangalea, M.R., Dinsmore, M.P. and McCready, H., 2015. A field protocol for the capture and release of callitrichids. Neotropical Primates, 22(2), pp.59-68.
  • Watsa, M., Erkenswick, G., Rehg, J. Leite Pitman, R. 2012. Distribution and new sightings of Goeldi’s monkey (Callimico goeldii) in Amazonian Perú. International Journal of Primatology 33(6): 1477-1502