Evolutionary Anthropology

Rebecca Brittain

RebeccaBrittain 10370   Rebecca.Brittain@rutgers.edu, Rebeccas.a.brittain@gmail.com
   Evolutionary Anthropology
   Graduate Advisor: Erin Vogel 

Research Interest: My general research interests include primate nutrition, health/disease and energetics, at both ecological and evolutionary scales. I am also interested in how these factors shaped hominin evolution. My specific research interests focus on the intersections between gut microbiota and energetics, nutrition, and health in wild Bornean orangutans. 

William Aguado

William Aguado 0bb8e

  william.aguado@rutgers.edu
  Evolutionary Anthropology
  Graduate Advisor : Erin Vogel 

I am interested in how the need to find and acquire food has influenced primate evolution and in particular how primates interact with their plant food resources. I received my BA in anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2013. At UCSC I aided in research on comparative primate anatomy by dissecting monkeys and apes and also discovered a love for fieldwork while researching the feeding ecology of howling monkeys on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. After graduating I did research on vervet monkey foraging behavior and spatial cognition in Uganda before returning to UCSC for a few years to teach human anatomy labs. I received my MA at Iowa State University and focused my thesis on seed dispersal by savanna-dwelling chimpanzees at Fongoli, Senegal. Outside of my academic life I am an avid skateboarder that also enjoys climbing and photography.

Anissa Speakman

anissa.speakman@rutgers.edu
Evolutionary Anthropology 
Graduate Advisor: Robert Scott

I received a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, and a Bachelor of Science in Entomology and Wildlife Ecology from the University of Delaware in 2017. During my time at the University of Delaware, I wrote a senior thesis on sex differences in the dental health of the prehistoric Tepe Hissar assemblage. I also worked in the Bee Behavior and Ecology Lab, studying the foraging behavior of honey bees, and helping to develop new pest management practices for beekeepers. My project focuses on human dietary adaptations during environmental shifts in the Pliocene and Plistocene, specifically looking at the development of microwear on enamel. I am interested in all questions related to the evolution of the hominin diet. I am also an avid science and environmental activist, participating in various demonstrations and activities during my time at the University of Delaware.

Dominique Raboin

Dominique Raboin 1eb3a  dlr235@scarletmail.rutgers.edu
  Evolutionary Anthropology
  Graduate Advisor:Ryne Palombit

Dominique Raboin holds a B.A. in biological anthropology and ecology from New York University and a M.A. from Hunter College at the City University of New York in animal behavior and conservation. She is broadly interested in primate behavioral ecology, including the costs and benefits of sociality from an evolutionary perspective. As an undergrad, Dominique studied feeding ecology in urban wildlife. Her master’s research investigated primate infant care and feeding ecology, specifically the feeding benefits of allomaternal care in guereza monkeys in Kibale National Park, Uganda. In addition to field research, Dominique gained experience in a primate molecular ecology lab, genotyping ringtail lemur samples to map their genetic diversity in Madagascar. Her current research interests include kin and non-kin associations and social development among primates. For her dissertation, Dominique hopes to explore the roles of social learning during the juvenile period and juvenile-conspecific associations in long-term survivability of olive baboons in Laikipia, Kenya. Dominique hopes to contribute to primate conservation through her research and engagement in conservation education.

Thomas Conte

thomasthomas.conte@rutgers.edu
Graduate Advisor: Lee Cronk
Evolutionary Anthropology program

My research interests center on pastoralism in Mongolia, China, and Central Eurasia. More broadly, I'm interested in the evolution of prosocial behaviors: namely, why people do nice things for one another.

Melanie Fenton

meljacksonmrj78@anthropology.rutgers.edu
Evolutionary Anthropology program
Graduate Advisor: Ryne Palmobit

I am interested in the evolution of reproductive strategies in primates and the co-evolution of these strategies in males and females.

K. Padmini Iyer

padmini.iyer@rutgers.edu
Evolutionary Anthropology program
Graduate Advisor: Lee Cronk

Research interests: Risk management; East African pastoralists; social networks

Mareike Janiak

Mareike Janiakmareike.janiak@rutgers.edu
Evolutionary Anthropology program
Graduate Advisor: Rob Scott

Research Interests:primate dietary ecology, dietary adaptations, evolution of digestive enzymes

Research project: For my dissertation I am planning a cross-species and cross-site comparison of pepsinogens in New World monkeys, in order to investigate how differences in diet act as a selective force on enzymes in the digestive system.

Alysse Moldawer

Advisor: Erin Vogel
I am interested in an interdisciplinary approach to understanding home range quality and stress of wild, female, Bornean orangutans in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. My current research goals are to examine how wild female orangutans respond and adapt to inter-related factors of interest that include: forest and nutrient ecology, orangutan density, presence of anthropogenic effects, and the sociology and history of human land use within the proposed research site. I am also exploring field and laboratory methods for examining orangutan physiology.

Research Interests: orangutan behavior and ecology, political ecology, environmental anthropology, primate physiology

Darshana Shapiro

DarcyEmail: darshana.shapiro@rutgers.edu
Evolutionary Anthropology program
Graduate Advisor: Rob Scott

Research interests: Miocene apes, functional anatomy of the pelvis, reconstructing primate locomotion in the fossil record.  My dissertation focuses on using the internal trabecular anatomy of the pelvis in conjunction with its external morphology to reconstruct locomotion in extinct primates, particularly Miocene apes and australopithecines.  I am interested in testing locomotor hypotheses via high-resolution X-ray computed tomography and contributing to ongoing debates in paleoanthropology about the evolutionary context of the rise of bipedalism in hominins.

Dennis Sonkoi

dennisdolesonkoi@yahoo.com, dss210@anthropology.rutgers.edu
Graduate Advisor: Lee Cronk
Evolutionary Anthropology program

Research Interests: Generosity and Traditional risk pooling mechanisms among the Maasai of Loita in Kenya. To particularly explore how the Maasai in the strive for generosity shared pasture, water, land and other natural resources to avert the negative effects of natural calamities.

Rene Studer-Halbach

rene.studerhalbach@rutgers.edu
Advisor: Susan Cachel

Research interests: My research is focused on South African, Plio-Pleistocene hominin and cercopithecoid communities. My aim is to determine whether interspecific competition can be detected through microevolutionary adaptations in extinct sympatric species, and if so, to quantify the competition coefficients between species. In other words, I am trying to understand the competitive relationships among species in extinct ecological communities, focusing on South African monkeys and hominins.