Doctor Karen Catunda

Karen CatundaKaren Catunda joined the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment in October 2022 as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Animal Feeding and Nutrition. She joined a multi-institutional research team led by Associate Professor Ben Moore and supported by a grant from the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources entitled Improving the feedbase for captive and rehabilitating koalas.

Karen Catunda holds a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science, a Postgraduate Diploma in Sustainable Management of Semiarid regions, and a Master's degree in Animal Production from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. Karen completed a PhD at Western Sydney University, supervised by Associate Professor Ben Moore (WSU), Professor Sally Power (WSU) and Dr. Amy Churchill (WSU, now at the University of Minnesota). Her PhD research was conducted as part of the “Pastures and Climate Extremes (PACE)” project which focused on the impacts of future climate extreme scenarios, such as increased temperatures and severe droughts, on the nutritional value of key pasture grassland species that support the diets of domestic livestock in Australia and many other countries around the world. Additionally, during her PhD studies, Karen also evaluated the performance of near-infrared spectroscopy calibrations in predicting standard nutritional composition of common pasture species covering a range of functional diversity, origins, and environmental conditions.

Areas of research

Animal Science, animal feeding and nutrition, animal feed evaluation, plant-animal interactions, climate change impacts on animal feed, feed technology, and alternative technologies for animal feeding.

Teaching expertise

  • Supervised Teaching in the Food Analysis unit - Animal Sciences
  • Taught-Short Course: Alternative technologies for animal feed
  • Co-Supervised a Summer WSU student - Project: What is the future cooking up for hungry cattle? Pasture nutrition under climate extremes.
  • Guest Lecturer in the Environmental Chemistry unit

Awards and recognition

  • 2018-2021 PhD Scholarship Award (Sponsored by Dairy Australia and Western Sydney University)
  • 2020 Regenerative Agriculture Herd Fellowship Award- USA (Sponsored by the American Grassfed Association, Quivira Coalition and Holistic Management International)
  • 2013-2015 Master’s Degree Scholarship Award (Sponsored by Brazilian Federal Agency for Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel)
  • 2012 Academic Honour Awarded to the Best Undergraduate Student (Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte)
  • 2010-2012 Scientific Initiation Scholarship Award (Sponsored by Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development)

Selected publications

George L, Catunda KLM, Wuhrer R, Fanna DJ, Moran K, Moore BD, 'The Use of Correlative Micro-CT and XRM to Locate and Identify Dense Structures in Plant Material', Microscopy and Microanalysis, vol.29, Suppl 1, pp 868–871

Catunda KLM, Churchill AC, Power SA, Moore BD, (2022) ‘Near infrared spectroscopy calibration strategies to predict multiple nutritional parameters of pasture species from different functional groups’, Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy, vol.30, no.5, pp 254-263

Catunda KLM, Churchill AC, Zhang H, Power SA, Moore BD, (2022) ‘Short-term drought is a stronger driver of plant morphology and nutritional composition than warming in two common pasture species’, Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science, vol.208, pp 841-852

Churchill AC, Zhang H, Fuller KJ, Amiji B, Anderson IC, Barton CVM, Carrillo Y, Catunda KLM, Chandregowda MH, Igwenagu C, Jacob V, Kim GW, Macdonald CA, Medlyn BE, Moore BD, Pendall E, Plett JM, Post AK, Powell JR, Tissue DT, Tjoelker MG, Power SA, (2022) ‘Pastures and climate extremes: impacts of cool season warming and drought on the productivity of key pasture species in a field experiment’, Frontiers in Plant Science, vol.22, article 836968

Zhang H, Powell JR, Power SA, Churchill AC, Plett JM, Macdonald CA, Jacob V, Kim GW, Pendall E, Tissue D, Catunda KM, Igwenagu C, Carrillo Y, Moore BD, Anderson IC, (2021) ‘Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal-mediated reductions in N2O emissions were not impacted by experimental warming for two common pasture species’, Pedobiologia Journal, vol.87–88, article 150744

Zhang H, Powell JR, Plett JM, Churchill AC, Power SA, Macdonald CA, Jacob V, Kim GW, Pendall E, Tissue D, Catunda KM, Igwenagu C, Carrillo Y, Moore BD, Anderson IC, (2021) ‘Climate warming negates arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal reductions in soil phosphorus leaching with tall fescue but not lucerne’, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.152, article 108075

Catunda KLM, Aguiar EM, Lima Junior V, Rêgo MMT, Rangel AHN, (2017)  ‘Moringa oleifera: a forage alternative of multiple uses for the Brazilian semiarid’, Científica- Journal of Agrarian Sciences, vol.45, no.4, pp 437-442

Catunda KLM, De Aguiar EM, De Góes Neto PE, Da Silva JGM, Moreira JA, Do Nascimento Rangel AH, De Lima Júnior DM, (2016) ‘Gross composition fatty acid profile and sensory characteristics of Saanen goat milk fed with Cacti varieties’, Tropical Animal Health and Production, vol.48, p 5