Maria Quinones

Maria Quinones
Mentor: Dr. Iske Larkin
College of Veterinary Medicine
"I originally did not have a strong interest in research until taking an animal behavior class at the University of Florida. The class focused on a scientific method of questioning and reasoning of animal behavior in which we were asked to pose hypotheses and conduct experiments to test the purposes of certain behaviors expressed by a species. Upon completion of the class I had the desire to learn more about the process and workings of research. Not long after, I was offered the opportunity to begin working with Dr. Iske Larkin and her graduate student Jonathan Cowart with the research on male reproductive physiology currently being completed in her lab."





Research Interests

  • Florida Manatee Reproductive Strategies
  • Florida Manatee Social Behavior

Academic Awards

  • Dean's List Spring 2015
  • Dean's List Fall 2015
  • Dean's List Summer 2016
  • University Scholars Program 2016


  • University of Florida Women's Club Ultimate Frisbee


  • University of Florida's Small Animal Hospital
  • Humane Society of Savannah
  • HOrses Helping PEople

Hobbies and Interests

  • Traveling
  • Hiking
  • Ultimate frisbee

Research Description

Ki67 expression as marker for gonadal function to evaluate age and seasonal differences in male Florida manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris)
The intent of the proposed project is to first validate the use of a polyclonal Ki67 antibody in gonadal tissue of male Florida manatees. Once validated, Ki67 expression will be used to assess cellular proliferation in order to: (1) determine baseline values for individuals of each age class (calf, juvenile, adult); and (2) potentially determine how cellular proliferation differs between breeding and non-breeding seasons. We hypothesize that: (1) cellular proliferation within gonadal tissue will be greatest during non-winter months and (2) cellular proliferation will be greater within juveniles and adults ≥ 250 cm in size. Investigating gonadal function is a crucial step towards gaining a complete understanding of reproduction in this endangered species, which is necessary to provide better information for management and conservation efforts.