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As a part of complementary studies in autecology, we study historical adaptation in terms of structure and lifestyle, the patterns and causes of species' distributions, and the influence of biotic and abiotic factors – especially in the context of seasonality – on the survival of individuals.
Phylogenetically controlled analyses and reconstructions reveal the evolutionary factors that have influenced interspecific variability in various morphological and behavioral traits. Satellite-aided analysis of vegetation allows us to study the distribution of different primate species from the local to the global scale.
Long-term climatic data, collected continuously, as well as data on the availability of plant-based foods and their ingredients, allow us to study the adaptation of primates with regard to their variability within a single year, and across years and decades.

Current Projects

The evolution of relative tail length in primates

The evolution of sexual dimorphism in Malagasy mammals
(in cooperation with S. Goodman (Field Museum Chicago) and C. Nunn (Duke University))

Patterns and consequences in the spatial distribution of mouse lemurs
(in collaboration with J. Ganzhorn, University of Hamburg)

The influence of maternal stress on the development in Verreaux’s Sifakas
(Hasina Malalaharivony)

Ecology, social organization and mating system of coppery titi monkeys, Callicebus cupreus
(Sofya Dolotovskaya; in cooperation with C. Roos, Primate Genetics, DPZ)

Kulp J, Heymann EW (2015) Ranging, activity budget, and diet composition of red titi monkeys (Callicebus cupreus) in primary forest and forest edge. Primates 56: 273-278

Bicca-Marques JC, Heymann EW (2013) Ecology and behaviour of titi monkeys, genus Callicebus. In: Veiga LM, Barnett AA, Ferrari SF, Norconk MA (eds) Evolutionary biology and conservation of titis, sakis and uacaris. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 196-207

Adaptation to habitat fragmentation in the San Martín titi monkey, Plecturocebus oenanthe
(in cooperation with: Proyecto Mono Tocón, Moyobamba, Peru)

Huashuayo-Llamocca R, Heymann EW (2017) Fur-rubbing with Piper leaves in the San Martín titi monkey, Callicebus oenanthe. Primate Biology 4: 127-130


Finished Projects


Tucker et al. (2018) Moving in the Anthropocene: Global reductions in terrestrial mammalian movements. Science 359: 466

Charpentier MJE, Givalois L, Faurie C, Soghessa O, Simon F, Kappeler PM (2018) Seasonal glucocorticoid production correlates with a suite of small-magnitude environmental, demographic, and physiological effects in mandrills. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 165: 20-33

Springer A, Fichtel C, Al-Ghalith GA, Koch F, Amato KR, Clayton JB, Knights D, Kappeler PM (2017) Patterns of seasonality and group membership characterize the gut microbiota in a longitudinal study of wild Verreaux's sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi). Ecology and Evolution 7: 5732-5745

Rakotonirina H, Kappeler PM, Fichtel C (2017) Evolution of facial color pattern complexity in lemurs. Scientific Reports 7: 15181

Peichl L, Kaiser A, Rakotondraparany F, Dubielzig RR, Goodman SM, Kappeler PM (2017) Diversity of Photoreceptor Arrangements in Nocturnal, Cathemeral and Diurnal Malagasy Lemurs. Journal of Comparative Neurology

Kaesler E, Kappeler PM, Brameier M, Demeler J, Kraus C, Rakotoniaina JH, Hämäläinen AM, Huchard E (2017) Shared evolutionary origin of major histocompatibility complex polymorphism in sympatric lemurs. Molecular Ecology 26: 5629-5645

Jacobs RL, MacFie TS, Spriggs AN, Baden AL, Morelli TL, Irwin MT, Lawler RR, Pastorini J, Mayor M, Lei R, Culligan R, Hawkins MTR, Kappeler PM, Wright PC, Louis EE, Mundy NI, Bradley BJ (2017) Novel opsin gene variation in large-bodied, diurnal lemurs. Biology Letters 13.

Yoder AD, Campbell CR, Blanco MB, dos Reis M, Ganzhorn JU, Goodman SM, Hunnicutt KE, Larsen PA, Kappeler PM, Rasoloarison RM, Ralison JM, Swofford DL, Weisrock DW (2016) Geogenetic patterns in mouse lemurs (genus Microcebus) reveal the ghosts of Madagascar's forests past. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113: 8049-8056.

Vuarin P, Dammhahn M, Kappeler P, Henry P-Y (2015) When to initiate torpor use? Food availability times the transition to winter phenotype in a tropical heterotherm. Oecologia 179: 43-53.

Kappeler PM, Cremer S, Nunn CL (2015) Sociality and health: impacts of sociality on disease susceptibility and transmission in animal and human societies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 370: 20140116.

Nunn CL, Gillespie TR, Craft ME, Schaller M, Kappeler PM (2015) Future research on the sociality-health-fitness nexus. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 370: 20140115.

Poirotte C, Basset D, Willaume E, Makaba F, Kappeler PM, Charpentier MJE (2016) Environmental and individual determinants of parasite richness across seasons in a free-ranging population of Mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx). American Journal of Physical Anthropology 159: 442–456.

Springer A, Fichtel C, Calvignac-Spencer S, Leendertz FH, Kappeler PM (2015) Hemoparasites in a wild primate: Plasmodium and Babesia interact in a lemur species. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 4: 385-395.