• Postdoctoral Researcher (Rutgers University), Lecturer (Princeton University)
  • Specialization: Primate behavior, nutritional ecology, conservation
  • Degree and University: Ph.D., Anthropology, Boston University 2019

Research Interests:
My research interests lie in how and why organisms make foraging choices, and how they use their environments, for better or worse, to meet nutritional needs. I earned my Ph.D. from Boston University in the Anthropology Department in 2019. I used foraging data from wild orangutans to investigate whether Optimal Foraging Theory was sufficient to characterize orangutan foraging. Using focal animal follows, food sample collection and nutrition analysis, and geospatial data, I found that many of the foraging choices orangutans make are difficult to explain with Optimal Foraging Theory alone, and that the addition of the Geometric Framework of Nutrition provides a more holistic account of the nutrient drivers behind orangutan feeding behavior. I am also very interested in conservation and have used these findings to help captive and rescue/rehabilitation centers feed their orangutans.

Current Projects: My current work in the Vogel lab investigates the impacts of more frequent and severe wildfires on orangutan health, nutrient intake, and feeding behavior. I am also working on a project examining how social media can be best used to communicate productive conservation messaging.

Teaching Interests: primate behavior and ecology, conservation, evolutionary biology, biological anthropology, science writing, obesity and human diet

Freund, C.A., Heaning, E.G., Mulrain, I.R, McCann, J.B., DiGiorgio, A.L. (accepted to People and Nature) Building better conservation media for primates and people: A case study of YouTube videos by orangutan rescue and rehabilitation organizations.

O’Connell, C.A., DiGiorgio, A.L., Ugarte, A.D., Brittain, R.S.A, Naumenko, D.J., Atmoko, S.U., Vogel, E.R. (2021) Wild Bornean Orangutans Experience Muscle Catabolism During Episodes of Fruit Scarcity. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 1-7; https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-89186-4

Murray, E.M. & DiGiorgio, A.L. (2021) Will Individual Actions Do the Trick? Comparing Climate Change Mitigation through Geoengineering versus Reduced Vehicle Emissions. Earth's Future https://doi.org/10.1029/2020EF001734

Knott, C.D., Kane, E., Achmad, M., Barrow, E.J., Bastian, M.L., … DiGiorgio, A.L, et al. (2021). The Gunung Palung Orangutan Project: Twenty-Five Years at the Intersection of Research and Conservation in a Critical Landscape in Indonesia. Biological Conservation, Vol 255. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108856

DiGiorgio, AL & Knott, C.D. (2020) Wild Bornean Orangutan Feeding Rates and the Marginal Value Theorem. American Journal of Primatology. e23183. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.23183