zebra stripe    
     
     
 



 
  Meg Crofoot  
  Meg Crofoot  
     
  Wilfred Odadi  
  Wilfred Odadi  
     
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  Stephanie Hauck  
  Stephanie Hauck  
     
  Blair Roberts  
  Blair Roberts  
     
  Jennifer Schieltz  
  Jennifer Schieltz  
     
  Qing Cao  
  Qing Cao  
     
  Caitlin Barale  
  Caitlin Barale  
     
  Ipek Kulahci  
  Ipek Kulahci  
     
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  Chaitanya Krishna Yarlagadda  
  Chaitanya Krishna Yarlagadda  
     
  Adrienne Tecza  
  Adrienne Tecza  
     
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Princeton University

Link to 'Former Team Members'


Meg Crofoot
, For my post-doctoral research, I am investigating when, why, and how white-faced capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus) cooperate with group-mates to defend shared resources. For a group to win such interactions, a large percentage of its members must participate. However, competition is potentially costly (individuals that fight risk serious injury) and, like many other cooperative behaviors, poses a collective action problem: cheaters who do not participate are better off than cooperators, since they gain all the benefits without paying any of the costs. In capuchins, participation in intergroup competition tends to be highly variable.  My current research explores why individuals cooperate in some situations, but not in others, by experimentally manipulating the location and social context of interactions among capuchin social groups using recordings of capuchin vocalizations.
 
Wilfred Odadi, Postdoctoral Research Associate
I have broad research interests in rangeland ecology and management, with a bias towards ecological interactions between livestock and wild ungulates. Currently, in collaboration with my postdoctoral research advisor, Professor Daniel Rubenstein and several other distinguished scientists, I am investigating the impacts of different livestock grazing management strategies on rangeland health, and on the foraging behaviour, nutrition and performance of cattle; and the implications of such impacts on cattle-wildlife coexistence, in Laikipia County, Kenya. Previously, in partnership with Professor Truman Young, Professor Rubenstein and several other colleagues, I have demonstrated facilitative and competitive interactions between cattle and wild ungulates, and facilitative interactions between bovids and equids. These findings are indispensable in guiding efforts towards enhancing integration between economic development and biodiversity conservation in African savanna ecosystems. In addition, I have enormous interest in research geared towards sustainable management of pastoral rangelands and improvement of the livelihoods of pastoral communities. In this regard, have been involved in several pastoral development research activities, including taking leading roles in designing and implementing protocols for assessment of forage resources and rangeland health in communal rangelands in Laikipia and Samburu Counties under African Wildlife Foundation and Earthwatch Institute’s Conservation Research Initiative, respectively. For further details on my research, contact me via e-mail: woodadi@yahoo.com or wodadi@awfke.org.

Graduate Students
Stephanie Hauck, Graduate student. My research centers around the application of life history theory and animal behavior techniques to the study of human evolution and behavior. In particular, I am interested in how the species Homo sapiens sapiens interacts with the environment to signal the expression of widely varied phenotypes, such as body size. In humans, this signaling process is complex, starting with the fetal environment and ending in the adult body. Moreover, body size, as well as age at maturity, age at menopause, and other important life history traits, are as much a product of culture as they are of biology. In order to investigate this idea, I will be conducting field research on pastoralist communities in Northern Laikipia, Kenya that are undergoing demographic, dietary, economic, and cultural transition. I also hope to develop new methods of non-experimental field research that will provide a robust design to human based studies, such as the use of local allometry (rather than WHO or NCHS growth parameters) to assess nutritional status and growth patterns in conjunction with saliva hormone assays to evaluate hormone production, hunger, and stress. For more information, please contact me at sjhauck 'at' princeton [dot] edu  
 
Blair Roberts, Graduate student. I am broadly interested in mammalian social behavior and behavioral ecology and have participated in studies addressing socioreproductive and mother-infant behavior in equids, reproductive behavior in canids, and interspecies interactions and habitat use in captive ungulates.  My current research focuses on mother-infant behavior and juvenile strategies in African ungulates. Different ungulate species exhibit contrary maternal care behavior and development strategies. I hope to determine the extent to which these different behavioral patterns are dictated by a species¹ environment and physiology, and which environmental factors are most important in shaping behaviors and strategies.
 
Jennifer Schieltz, Graduate student. I am interested in mammalian behavioral ecology and conservation, particularly human-wildlife interaction. My research investigates wildlife populations and their interactions with their environment, focusing on how human land use practices affect animal behavior. I am currently studying how cattle grazing influences the behavior of various wild grazers on Kenyan rangelands. This is an important question because forty percent of the earth’s land surface is currently used for grazing domestic animals. These lands are also vitally important for conservation as they can provide a means to preserve open space to sustain wildlife outside of national parks. In some areas, it appears that cattle and wildlife can live side-by-side. However, many issues must be considered and managed properly in order to allow wildlife and livestock to coexist. Therefore, I hope to conduct research that not only furthers ecological theory, but has practical implications for wildlife conservation and management as well.
 
Qing Cao, Graduate student. I am interested in the animal behavioral ecology and community ecology in the savanna-steppe ecosystem. In particular, my current research focuses on the resource use and niche differentiation of two sympatric equids (horse-like species) in Asia, the released Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalskii) and the indigenous Asiatic wild ass (E. hemionus). The niche differentiation driven by present competition is very rare and has been difficult to observe, especially in large mammals. Reintroducing once extinct species back to its original habitat may provide a good chance to examine how its realized niches form from the interspecific competition with another species with the similar resource requirements. My colleagues and I are working in Kalamaili Nature Reserve, using automatic camera traps and satellite telemetry in combine with observations to look at: 1) what are the fundamental and realized niches of the two equids, especially in food and water use, 2) how does the competition drive their resource use patterns, and 3) what kind of niche differentiations could allow the coexistence of the two species? For more information, please contact me at qcao 'at' princeton [dot] edu.
 
Caitlin Barale, Graduate student. My research focuses on primate development, and the ways in which peers and family influence social behavior, bonds, networks and reproductive trajectories. I am working with geladas (Theropithecus gelada), a Cercopithecine primate species endemic to the Ethiopian Highlands, in collaboration with the University of Michigan Gelada Research Project. My research follows a group of juvenile males from infancy into peer groups, and onwards to all-male bachelor groups. I will combine behavioral observations, social network analysis, and non-invasive hormone analysis to address three main questions: (1) When and to what extent do juveniles participate in peer groups, and what are the influences of family and peers on this transition? (2) When and with whom do males form close male-male bonds, and what, if any, are the short-term benefits of these bonds? (3) As males transition into bachelor groups, what individual attributes or previous experiences lead to high rank? Geladas serve as an excellent model for examining the effects of early life on development in primates, especially humans. Like humans, juvenile geladas split their social time between family members in their natal unit and unrelated peers in peer groups. This partition is very similar to the human child’s time-sharing between school and home. In both systems, juveniles learn, explore and receive information about how to become a functional adult in both the home and the peer group setting. Understanding the way social and behavioral influences affect adult gelada trajectories will yield insight into the way early life shapes human development. My research will also provide the first set of detailed behavioral and physiological data on wild juvenile geladas, which will allow me to answer fundamental questions concerning maturation time, growth and development, as well as providing valuable information for conservation.
 
Ipek Kulahci, Graduate student.: For my thesis, I integrate animal social behavior with animal learning and personalities to explore how social interactions influence information transmission in a group. When addressing social interactions, I also focus on the role of multiple sensory modalities in recognition of group members. This project is a result of my long term fascination with three aspects of animal behavior; animal cognition, especially how animals learn and make decisions in changing environments, social behavior, which provides unique windows into dynamic decision-making as social environment changes frequently and can be quite unpredictable, and animal communication which is the basis of all social behavior. I am also a strong supporter of conservation and wildlife protection, and believe that successful conservation efforts require a thorough knowledge of animal behavior. One critical piece of this knowledge for social species involves understanding how individual differences in behavior are reflected at the group level and whether group members learn from the experiences of others. Currently I work with ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta), a threatened species which is a perfect study system for addressing these questions, since individuals vary highly in their personalities, learning abilities, and social interactions which span multiple behavioral contexts and show remarkable complexity.

 
Chaitanya Krishna Yarlagadda, Visiting Student Research Collaborators , My research focuses on wildlife conservation in human-dominated landscapes. I am interested in how the ecological requirements of wild animals can be integrated with the economic wellbeing of local communities. My work so far has been in a grassland-agriculture landscape and has addressed the wild and domestic species dependent on this landscape. I want to understand the temporal and spatial patterns of grasslands themselves, as well as study the various species and people dependent on these landscapes. Working in the semi-arid grasslands of peninsular India I am trying to identify human-wildlife conflict patterns and create innovative site-specific conflict mitigation measures. Expanding on my interest in the intersection between human land-use and wildlife conservation, I also work on a collaborative research project which aims to ensure availability of freshwater to both humans and aquatic fauna. I can be contacted at cy2(at)princeton(dot)edu  
 
Adrienne Tecza, Visiting Student Research Collaborators , I am a visiting student researcher from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland pursuing a PhD in politics and international relations. I am interested in utilizing models of collective decision making and leadership emergence from behavioral ecology to understand the political arena. In particular I am interested in the relationship between resource access, risk, and leadership typology.
 

Visit Former Team Members page.

   
 
   
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