(PhD, Stony Brook University, 2012; Postdoctoral Fellow) animal communication, biological conservation, evolution of competition & cooperation, primate mating strategies, sexual selection, tropical ecology; Bolivia, South America; Siberut and Borneo Islands, Indonesia
link to web page
My diverse and collaborative research program spans the fields of ecology, behavioral physiology, bioacoustics, and conservation, tied together by a deep interest in how individuals and populations are affected by human disturbance and environmental change.
I am currently a British Academy Visiting Fellow, working with colleagues at the University of Exeter to establish a long-term ecological and ethnographic multidisciplinary research and conservation program in the lowland forests of Borneo. My partners and I are developing cost-effective methods of monitoring ecological responses to anthropogenic change, with a special focus on endangered orangutans and gibbons.
I recently completed a Fulbright fellowship studying gastrointestinal parasite diversity in wild orangutans in collaboration with biologists and veterinarians at Universitas Nasional and Universitas Gadjah Mada in Indonesia. My study is focused on identifying factors driving variation, and how changes in infection affect behavior - in particular their long-distance communication. This research built on my postdoctoral research with Dr. Erin Vogel, during which I worked with our collaborators at Universitas Nasional to promote sustainable forest management and biodiversity, while conducting research on the behavior and ecology of wild Bornean orangutans at the Tuanan Orangutan Research Project's station in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. In 2016, Erin and I established the non-profit organization CORE Borneo to support orangutan conservation in and around Tuanan.
2012 Ph.D., Anthropological Sciences, Stony Brook University
2006 M.A., Anthropological Sciences, Stony Brook University
2001 B.S. (Magna cum laude), Zoology, The Ohio State University
Grants and Awards:
Grants & Awards
2018 International Primatological Society Conservation Grant
2018 British Academy Visiting Fellowship
2018 American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Cobb Professional Development Award
2016 Fulbright Senior Scholar Award
2016 Primate Conservation Inc.
2016 Primate Action Fund
2014 Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund
2014 Goldberg Research Grant - The Nacey Maggioncalda Foundation
2013 Primate Action Fund
2012 LSB Leakey Foundation Research Grant
2010 American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Sherwood Washburn prize for outstanding student research
2008 National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant
2007 American Society of Primatologists Research Grant
2006 - 2008 Margot Marsh Biodiversity Fund Research Grants
2005 - 2016 Primate Action Fund Research Grants
2005 - 2016 Primate Conservation, Inc. Research Grants
Erb, WM, B Barrow, AN Hofner, SS Utami Atmoko, ER Vogel. 2018. Wildfire smoke negatively impacts activity budgets and energy balance of wild Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii). Scientific Reports.
Erb, WM, LM Porter. 2017. Mother's little helpers: What we know (and don't know) about cooperative infant care in callitrichines. Evolutionary Anthropology. 26 (1): 25-37.
Vogel, ER, SE Alavi, SS Utami-Atmoko, MA van Noordwijk, TD Bransford, WM Erb, A Zulfa, F Sulistyo, WR Farida, JM Rothman. 2017. Nutritional ecology of wild Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii) in a peat swamp habitat: effects of age, sex, and season. American Journal of Primatology. 79 (4): e22618.
Erb, WM, T Ziegler, NS Lestari, K Hammerschmidt. 2016. Are simakobu (Simias concolor) loud calls energetically costly signals? American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 161 (1): 44-52.
Erb, WM, JK Hodges, K Hammerschmidt. 2013. Individual, contextual and age-related acoustic variation in simakobu (Simias concolor) loud calls. PLoS ONE. 8 (12): e83131.
Erb, WM, C Borries, NS Lestari, JK Hodges. 2012. Annual variation in ecology and reproduction of wild simakobu (Simias concolor). International Journal of Primatology. 33(6): 1406-1419.
Erb, WM, C Borries, NS Lestari, T Ziegler. 2012. Demography of simakobu (Simias concolor) and the impact of human disturbance. American Journal of Primatology. 74 (6): 580-590; Erratum: 75 (3): 301.