Dr. Natalia Borrego

Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies

Main Focus

I am a postdoctoral behavioral ecologist interested in the selective forces shaping sociality and the proposed evolutionary links between sociality and advanced cognition. I study variability in the social structure and cooperative complexity of African lions across habitats with differing levels of resource richness. I aim to identify conditions under which sociality emerges (and breaks down), as well as conditions favoring cognitive complexity during cooperation. 

Curriculum Vitae

Natalia D. Borrego The American University in Cairo, Egypt  Lion Research Center, University of Minnesota  Email: natalia.borrego@aucegypt.edu or nborrego@umn.edu
ADDRESS  American University in Cairo  Office 1026, School of Science and Engineering AUC Ave, New Cairo, Cairo Governorate, 11835
 ACADEMIC WEBSITES https://lioncenter.umn.edu/natalia-borrego/ and https://www.aucegypt.edu/fac/nataliaborrego
 EDUCATION _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________                              2005  B.S. in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida
 2011  M.Sc. in Environmental Science, Florida Gulf Coast University
 2016  Ph.D. in Biology, University of Miami
PROFESSIONAL POSITIONS  _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________                              2016-2017 Post Doctoral Scholar, School of Life Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal
 2017-2018 Research Associate, School of Life Sciences, University of Kwazulu-Natal
 2017-2018 Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Natural Sciences, Baruch College,   City University of New York     
 2017-2019 Affiliated Faculty, Department of Psychology, Animal Behavior and Conservation Program, Hunter College, City University of New York     2016-Present  Postdoctoral Research Associate, Lion Research Center, University of Minnesota 
 2018-Present Post-doctoral Teaching Fellow, Department of Biology, American University Cairo
 GRANTS & FELLOWSHIPS (Total awarded to date: $186, 703) _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________            2009-2011  NIH, Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Fellowship - $30,900
 2010   University of Miami Jay M. Savage Award in Tropical Biology - $400
 2012-2014  University of Miami, Department of Biology, Kushlan Fund - $4,100
 2013   University of Miami, Dean’s Summer Fellowship - $5,000
 2011-2013 National Science Foundation, Science Made Sensible Fellowship - $60,000
 2009-2015  Florida Education Fund, McKnight Doctoral Fellowship - $51,000
 2016   Animal Behavior Society, Walter Clyde Allee Honorable Mention - $750
 2016-2017  University of Kwazulu-Natal, Post Doctoral Scholarship - $27,692 
CURRENT FUNDING 2018 - present  Team member: National Geographic Council for Exploration Grant - $27,000
 2019 - present  American University Cairo, Research Support Grant - $6, 861
PUBLICATIONS * student  _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________              Borrego, N., A. Ozgul, K.B. Armitage, D.T. Blumstein, and M.K. Oli. 2008. Spatiotemporal  variation in survival of male yellow-bellied marmots. Journal of Mammalogy. 89: 365-373.
 Borrego, N. and M. Gaines. 2016. Social carnivores outperform asocial carnivores on an  innovative problem. Animal Behaviour. 114:21-26. 
 Borrego, N. and B. Dowling. 2016. Lions (Panthera leo) solve, learn, and remember a novel  resource acquisition problem. Journal of Animal Cognition. 19(5) 1019-1025.
 Borrego, N. 2017. Big cats as a model system for the study of the evolution of  intelligence. Behavioral Processes. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2017.03.010
 Borrego, N., A. Ozgul, R. Slotow, and C. Packer. 2018. Lion population dynamics: do nomadic  males matter? Behavioral Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/ary018
 Miller, S. M., Ferreira, S., Kilian, H., Parker, D., Courtenay, B., Hanekom, C., & Borrego, N.  2018. Reintroduction, genetic management and genetic rescue of lion populations. In IUCN SSN Cat Specialist Group. Guidelines for the Conservation of Lions in Africa. Version 1.0. Muri/Bern, Switzerland, (p. 111).
 McEnvoy, O., S. M. Miller, W. Beets, N. Borrego, A. Burger, B. Courtenay, S. Ferreira, c.  Hanekom, M. Hofmeyer, C. Packer, D. Robertson, K. Stratford, R. Slotow, and D. M. Paker. 2019. Use of contraceptive techniques as management tools to mimic natural reproductive rates in managed African lions (Panthera leo). Wildlife Research. 46: 398-408. https://doi.org/10.1071/WR18079
 Borrego, N. 2020. Socially tolerant lions (Panthera leo) solve a novel cooperative problem. Animal Cognition. 23.2: 327-336.
UNDER REVIEW & FINAL PREP (drafts available upon request)  *O’Connor, V., Chase, S., Chodorow, M., and Borrego, N. (submitting to Behavioral Processes) Exploring Innovation and Behavioral Flexibility in African lions (Panthera leo) and snow leopards (Panthera uncia). 
 Borrego, N., Balme, G., O'Riain, M. J., Borrego, N., Dickerson, T., Kelley, D. & Hunter, L. T. B.  (submitting to African Journal of Ecology). Species-specific differences in risk avoidance and the conservation implications: an in-situ comparison of leopards and spotted hyenas.  
 *Delsink, A., Borrego, N., Garai, M., Henley, M., Pretorius, Y., Selier, J., Toerien, E., van Altena, J.J.,  Slotow, R. (in final prep) A case study for applying a transdisciplinary approach to mitigate human-wildlife conflict: Human-elephant conflict in South Africa. 
 PEER REVIEWER: Nature Comms: Biology, Animal Behaviour, Animal Cognition, and PeerJ
 PRESENTATIONS _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________         2006 Spatiotemporal variation in survival of male yellow- bellied marmots, Annual Florida Wildlife Society Meeting 2010 Honorable Mention: Mercury accumulation in south Florida passerines, (poster) University of Miami, Department of Biology Symposium, 2010 2011 Social intelligence and cooperating carnivores:  Problem solving in Panthera, University of Miami, Department of Biology Symposium (poster)  
 2011 Tolerance and cooperation in  social felids, Panthera leo, 48th Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society (poster)
2012 Do Tolerant Felids Cooperate to Solve Problems? University of Miami, Department of Biology Symposium

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