POST DOCTORAL ASSOCIATES
Dr. Erin Kane
Andrea Blackburn is a doctoral candidate currently studying orangutan seed dispersal behavior at the Cabang Panti Research Station in Gunung Palung National Park. She is examining which fruits orangutans are dispersing, the effectiveness of orangutan seed dispersal services, and how orangutan spatial movement patterns shape seed dispersal behavior. If orangutans are effective and critical seed dispersers, they may be essential to the maintenance and regeneration of the tropical forests they inhabit.
Faye is a PhD candidate in the anthropology department at Boston University. Previously, she received a master’s degree in biology from Clark University, where she studied amphibian locomotion. She is broadly interested in orangutan growth and development. Specifically, she is examining the process of flanging in male orangutans as well as the physiological and morphological changes experienced by juvenile orangutans. She is particularly interested in the hormonal changes males and females experience prior to adulthood. For her dissertation research, she will be using a number of methods such as photogrammetry, endocrine analyses, behavioral observations, and statistical analyses. She is collaborating with a number of zoos throughout the United States for her research.
Laura collects a sample from a wild orangutan.
Laura Brubaker-Wittman is a PhD student in the Biological Anthropology program at Boston University. She holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development and Policy Advocacy from the School for International Training. Her doctoral research focuses on the human-nonhuman primate interface by using the mixed methodology of ethnoprimatology, incorporating theories and techniques from cultural and biological anthropology. Specifically, her work asks questions about how orangutans and humans interact and co-exist in landscapes that have been shaped by human disturbance and what this means for orangutan health and behavior. Ultimately, she hopes her work can bring together science, conservation, and environmental justice to help protect orangutans and support local communities at the same time.
RECENT FORMER STUDENTS
Dr. Andrea DiGiorgio
Andrea was awarded her PhD in Anthropology at Boston University in May 2019, for her study of orangutan nutrition and habitat use. Her interests are in primate evolution, diet, and conservation. She conducted her doctoral fieldwork at the Cabang Panti Research station in Gunung Palung National Park. Andrea’s work investigated the nutrient drivers of orangutan foraging behavior, with a focus on non-fruit foods. She is also using movement ecology to understand how these endangered apes use their habitats to find scarce resources.
Dr. Jacob Negrey
Jacob Negrey was awarded his PhD in Anthropology in May 2019. His doctoral research explored the relationship between health, hormonal functioning and social status in wild male chimpanzees. He conducted his work with the largest wild chimpanzee community ever studied – the Ngogo chimpanzee community, living in Kibale National Park, Uganda. He conducted laboratory analysis of chimpanzee urinary hormones in the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.
Dr. Caitlin O’Connell
Caitlin was awarded her PhD in Anthropology from Boston University in January 2018. She spent a full year, from 2013 to 2014, in Gunung Palung National Park, and witnessed an incredible amount of social and sexual behavior that we do not usually expect from Bornean orangutans. Her work has explored when and why social behavior takes place in order to understand the costs and benefits of gregariousness for an ape that often ranges alone. Her thesis looked at differences in the tendency for socializing, affiliation and agonism, stress, and parasites across different age-sex classes and examined these factors within their ecological and social contexts. Email: email@example.com