Samantha Leivers, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Associate

Dr. Samantha Leivers serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Postdoctoral Associate in Recovery Ecology. In this role, she assists with running the Pocket Mouse Conservation Breeding Facility in support of reintroduction efforts. Her research interests lie in mate choice and sexual selection, and how we can use theory to aid conservation initiatives and improve the management, welfare, and breeding of species in captivity.

Samantha’s current research focus is investigating female mate choice in the Pacific pocket mouse, and determining how we can use this information to improve breeding success in our captive population. In turn, this will assist our efforts to release captive bred animals and establish new populations of the pocket mice in the wild. She is also investigating the effects of social housing on estrus. Her future plans include studying the role that vocalizations and the major histocompatibility complex may play in mate choice.

Samantha earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from University of Kent, UK, and her master’s degree in Animal Behavior from University of Exeter, where she investigated auditory enrichment in two species of critically endangered primates. Following this, she spent three months volunteering on conservation projects in South Africa. She then earned her doctorate at University of Western Australia, studying evolutionary theory and male fertility in humans through the Centre of Evolutionary Biology and the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders.