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Aliris Loperena

School: Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Department: Conservation Medicine

Research Interests: Conservation and Ecology, Animal Science, Environmental Engineering, Cities & Urban Planning

TIE Affiliation

Environmental Research Fellowship


Habitat fragmentation can be detrimental to ecosystems and wildlife populations, with roadways being one of the most common forms of habitat fragmentation leading to wildlife-vehicle collisions affecting people and ecosystems through economic and ecological impacts. River otters serve as sentinel species in aquatic environments and may be useful in identifying wildlife corridor placement. A geospatial analysis will be conducted to identify otter collision sites in the six counties in east central Florida. Habitat data for each collision site will be examined to better understand abiotic factors affecting animal-vehicle collisions. Skeletal remains and necropsy reports of the deceased specimens will be analyzed for severity of injury and compared to spatial data. This analysis can be used to inform policy on transportation infrastructure such as implementing wildlife crossings and possible speed limit adjustments.


Aliris is a Master's student at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine studying Conservation Medicine. She expects to complete her studies in September 2019. Prior to coming to Tufts, Aliris earned her B.S. in Biology from the University of Central Florida. During her undergraduate career, Aliris was part of a group that won first place for a service learning project teaching 5th graders about microplastics.  Aliris also worked as a veterinary technician for five years before coming to Tufts.

Current Studies and Future Goals

When asked what she found most meaningful about her field of study, Aliris responded with the following: "I enjoy the interdisciplinary nature of my program. It has opened my eyes to concepts and ideas I originally did not associate with conservation. I really like that I have a small cohort and we are all very different focuses in conservation".

When asked what interested her becoming a TIE Fellow, Aliris responded with the following: "I was inspired that the program encouraged interdisciplinary work. Conservation medicine strives to teach that different systems are actually interconnected and often feed off one another so it was encouraging that TIE acknowledged that".

Aliris hopes to pursue a career in marine conservation and policy once she finishes her studies at Tufts. She hopes to find a niche where she can influence climate change. Eventually, she may pursue a PhD. Aliris would like to live abroad for at least a year.

Fun Facts!

When not doing school work, Aliris can be found scuba diving, swimming, and being outside with her dog (going on hikes or just a walk to the farmers market). Aliris also loves to go dancing.

Favorite food: Thai food (even though she cant handle spicy dishes!)

Favorite Place You've Visited: Glover's Reef in Belize

Dream Job: Working on shark and coral conservation while traveling the world