My research program focuses broadly on primate feeding ecology and physiology, with a particular focus on the influence of ecological variability. I focus on two primary questions:
1. How do juveniles develop ecological competence?
2. How do species’ feeding ecology and physiology influence the development and maintenance of community ecology?
These questions are both important for fundamental research on primate ecology, and provide lenses through which I examine the impact of ecological disturbance on primate communities in the context of global climate change and forest fragmentation.
My dissertation examined the social, ecological, and reproductive consequences of seasonal changes in food availability for Diana monkeys living in Taï National Park, Côte d’Ivoire. As a postdoctoral research associate at Boston University, I am examining the impact of dramatic fluctuations in food availability on orangutan life history. I am conducting fieldwork on orangutan ecology and behavior and lab analyses of food nutritional content and biomarkers indicative of health and reproductive status. Both projects also incorporate research on oral processing in relation to food mechanical properties, food availability, and dietary. Ultimately, I hope to understand the role ecological uncertainty plays in the evolution and maintenance of primate morphology and social and reproductive strategies.
I am also interested in making biological anthropology and primatology more inclusive and accessible sciences for a diverse group of scientists. In particular, I am focused on improving the field climate for researchers who may experience harassment while conducting fieldwork.