Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Ana Valenzuela Toro

Peter Buck Predoctoral Fellow

Ana is a Chilean paleobiologist and Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz. She is interested in investigating the ecology and evolution of marine mammals, especially pinnipeds, the group that includes seals, fur seals, sea lions, and walruses. During her 15 months-long Buck Fellowship at the Paleobiology Department in the NMNH, Ana is quantifying the foraging paleoecology of fossil pinnipeds using biogeochemistry and morphology. Her research will provide one of the first quantitative evaluations of how extinct pinnipeds partitioned their ancient communities and how these patterns contrast (or not) to living ones. Her research will broadly benefit current conservation efforts by informing predictions of pinnipeds' ecological and evolutionary responses to ongoing changes in their environment.

Department / Division
  • B.S.; Universidad de Chile 
  • M.Sc.; Universidad de Chile 
  • M.A.; University of California, Santa Cruz 
  • Ph.D. candidate; University of California, Santa Cruz
Additional Resources
  • The Society of Marine Mammalogy
  • Paleontological Society
Research Interests
  • Evolutionary history of marine mammals
  • Ecology and paleoecology of marine mammals with emphasis on seals, fur seals, and sea lions