Claire Marr discusses her research on giant otters, an endangered apex predator in the Amazon, examining their behaviour and ecology, and learning what this can tell us about their ecosystem and evolution.
Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) are the largest otter species in the world, separated from the other otter species by approximately 8 million years of evolution – more than what separates humans from other apes. This has resulted in this species being unlike any other otter species on the planet. With their highly social behaviour, cooperative approach to rearing offspring, and status as an endangered apex predator in one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, giant otters are a fascinating and understudied species. As with all apex predators, better understanding this species not only helps with their conservation, but also the larger topics of deforestation and anthropogenic effects on the environment and the evolution of sociality.
This talk will be an exploration into giant otters, using research and footage from a six-year on-going study.