Alexine is the field director for Earthwatch's Pantanal program. Although she was born in New York, she grew up in Sao Paulo and has done the majority of her fieldwork in Brazil. She received her Bachelor's degree in Zoology from Drew University in New Jersey, with a minor in Anthropology, then went on to get her Master's in Wildlife Management from West Virginia University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate degree in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology from the University of Nevada.
Alexine's first research project was in the Amazon basin studying black lion tamarins. However, after her brief work with primates, she began researching peccaries – something she has been doing now for over eight years, first in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, and now in the Pantanal.
|"You can't leave out the human component either. You have to include people in the formula or your solutions will never work."
"I've always wanted to work with wildlife – Dian Fossey was my hero," says Alexine. "And studying peccaries is fascinating – they have such an important role in the ecosystem. Because they are both seed dispersers and consumers, peccaries have a huge impact on their environment. If peccary herds disappeared from an ecosystem, there would be a significant and rapid change in the vegetative make-up of the area."
LEARN MORE: Find information about conservation careers and working with wildlife
Seeing the animals is her favorite part of the job. Almost everyday that she goes into the bush, she is able to see peccaries, or some other type of wildlife. Unfortunately, she has found though that there is rarely time to just sit and watch the creatures she is studying, instead she must stay focused on gathering data and organizing her research.
"Logistical problems can be a huge pain. It's very frustrating when you're ready to go follow a new herd, and the truck won't start or the radio telemetry equipment isn't working properly. But even with these hurdles, it's always exciting. The one thing I've found about research is that the more you find out, the more you realize that there is left to discover. And you can't leave out the human component either. You have to include people in the formula or your solutions will never work. Conservation biology is a long-term effort, with many angles. But that's why it's so exciting."