Faculty Spotlight: Oscar Alejandro Aleuy Young

Faculty Spotlight: Oscar Alejandro Aleuy Young

Studying Wildlife Around the World

As a veterinarian and biologist, Oscar Alejandro Aleuy Young, Ph.D., DVM, has worked with wildlife around the world, from pudus — the planet’s smallest deer — in South America to foxes on an island off the coast of California and caribou in Canada. Now, as a new professor in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, Aleuy Young hopes to study the ecology of wildlife diseases in local ecosystems here in South Florida.

“Working with wildlife is not just doing good for wildlife, it is doing good for everybody,” said Aleuy Young, adding that the information from research helps improve the environment, manage natural resources and ultimately, protect human health.

Aleuy Young grew up in Chile loving animals and nature. “I always pictured myself capturing wildlife somewhere in the world, darting them, taking samples and then making them feel better,” he said. He earned first a bachelor’s in veterinary science, then a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University Austral de Chile.

After graduating, he worked as the director and head veterinarian for the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre at the University Austral de Chile. He conducted research projects to understand the health and reproduction of wildlife and taught veterinary students at the university. He was also part of the team that built an environmental education program with the rehabilitation center, traveling to public schools to teach about conflicts between humans and wildlife.

Eventually, he said he realized he wanted to move away from treating individual animals to understanding more about the health of populations and ecosystems using ecological theory. In 2013, he earned a master’s in preventive veterinary medicine from the University of California, Davis and in 2019, a doctorate in ecology from the University of Calgary in Canada. He then worked as a postdoctoral associate at the University Calgary followed by another postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

One of Young’s current projects is understanding the effect of an emerging parasite on the health of the island foxes on San Miguel Island, the westernmost island in the Channel Islands off the California coast. He’s interested in the role that this parasite might have in an increase in fox mortality occurring during the last decade that could jeopardize the population of this charismatic species.

At Florida Atlantic, Aleuy Young is exploring areas of research that are relatively understudied in Florida, such as the disease ecology in the freshwater environments and how that impacts the conservation of local species, as well as the health of people. “With my research, I try to connect the ecosystem with society, in order to have positive outcomes for everybody.”

If you would like more information, please contact us at dorcommunications@fau.edu.