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Population ecology

Our research in population ecology deals with the structure and dynamics of populations.
We combine decades’ worth of demographic and genetic data to compare sex-specific life-history tactics and social dynamics of sympatric species.
This area of work also includes conservation projects, the study of issues related to the inventory of primate populations, threat factors and geographical distribution.

Since 1995, we have been collecting data on the behavior, population dynamics and genetic structure of the following species:

Grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)

Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae)

Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons)

Verreaux’s Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi)

Narrow-striped mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata)

Current Projects

Population dynamics of mouse lemurs
(in collaboration with A. Ozgul, University of Zurich)

Population Dynamics of sympatric group-living lemurs
(in collaboration with J.-M. Gaillard, CNRS Lyon)

Senescence in Verreaux's Sifakas
(in collaboration with S. Alberts, Duke University)

Female eviction in three lemur species
(in collaboration with S. Ichino, Kyoto University)

Finished Projects

Effects of forest fragmentation on brown spider monkeys, Ateles hybridus, and red howler monkeys, Alouatta seniculus
(completed PhD project of Rebecca Rimbach; in cooperation with Andres Link, Universidad Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia, Michael Heistermann, Endocrinology Laboratory, DPZ)

Rimbach R, Link A, Heistermann M, Gómez-Posada C, Galvis N, Heymann EW (2013) Effects of logging, hunting, and forest fragment size on physiological stress levels of two sympatric ateline primates in Colombia. Conservation Physiology 1:10.1093/conphys/cot031

Rimbach R, Link A, Montes-Rojas A, Di Fiore A, Heistermann M, Heymann EW (2014) Behavioral and physiological responses to fruit availability of spider monkeys ranging in a small forest fragment. American Journal of Primatology 76:1049-1061

Rimbach R, Heymann EW, Link A, Heistermann M (2013) Validation of an enzyme immunoassay for assessing adrenocortical activity and evaluation of factors that affect levels of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites in two New World primates. General and Comparative Endocrinology 191:13-23

Primates of Peru: distribution, abundance, threats
(in cooperation with Rolando Aquino, National University Mayor San Marcos, Lima, Peru, Fanny Cornejo, Stony Brook University, USA)

Aquino R, Cornejo FM, Cortés Ortiz L, Encarnación CF, Heymann EW, Marsh LK, Mittermeier RA, Rylands AB, Vermeer J (2015) Monkeys of Peru. Pocket identification guide. Conservation International, Arlington

Aquino R, López L, García G, Heymann EW (2014) Diversity, abundance and habitats of primates on the Río Curaray, Peruvian Amazonia. Primate Conservation 28: 1-8

Aquino R, Cornejo FM, Heymann EW (2013) Primate abundance and habitat preferences on the lower Urubamba and Tambo rivers, central-eastern Peruvian Amazonia. Primates 54: 377-383

Aquino R, Cornejo FM, Pezo E, Heymann EW (2013) Distribution and abundance and of Peruvian Amazonia. Folia Primatologica 84: 1-10

Aquino R, Cornejo FM, Pezo Lozano E, Heymann EW (2009) Geographic distribution and demography of Pithecia aequatorialis (Pitheciidae) in Peruvian Amazonia. American Journal of Primatology 71: 964-968

Aquino R, Terrones W, Cornejo F, Heymann EW (2008) Geographic distribution and possible taxonomic distinction of Callicebus torquatus populations (Pitheciidae: Primates) in Peruvian Amazonia. American Journal of Primatology 70: 1181-1186

Causes and consequences of the global threat of primates
(Cooperation with Alejandro Estrada, Universidad Autónoma de México, Mexico)

Estrada A, Garber PA, Rylands AB, Roos C, Fernandez-Duque E, Di Fiore A, Nekaris KAI, Nijman V, Heymann EW, Lambert JE, Rovero F, Barelli C, Setchell JM, Gillespie TR, Mittermeier RA, Arregoitia LV, de Guinea M, Gouveia S, Dobrovolski R, Shanee S, Shanee N, Boyle S, Fuentes A, MacKinnon KC, Amato KR, Meyer ALS, Wich S, Sussman RW, Pan R, Kone I, Li B (2017) Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: why primates matter. Science Advances 3: e1600946




Eckhardt F, Kraus C, Kappeler PM (im Druck) Life histories, demographies and population dynamics of three sympatric chameleon species (Furcifer spp.) from western Madagascar. Amphibia & Reptilia

Eckhardt F, Kappeler PM, Kraus C (2017) Highly variable lifespan in an annual reptile, Labord’s chameleon (Furcifer labordi). Scientific Reports 7:11397

Kappeler PM, Fichtel C (2012) A 15-year perspective on the social organization and life history of sifaka in Kirindy Forest. In: Kappeler PM, Watts DP (eds) Long-Term Field Studies of Primates. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 101-121

Kappeler PM, Fichtel C (2012) Female reproductive competition in Eulemur rufifrons: eviction and reproductive restraint in a plurally breeding Malagasy primate. Molecular Ecology 21: 685-698