Research Affiliates

Caitlin A. O'Connell

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  • Specialization: Primate behavior and ecology, sociality, life history, energetics, parasitology, conservation
  • Degree and University: Ph.D., Anthropology, Boston University, 2018
  • ocon233@usc.edu

 

Research Interests: I am interested in how organisms respond to ecological fluctuations behaviorally and physiologically. I completed my Ph.D. at Boston University in 2018 where I studied the costs and benefits of sociality in wild Bornean orangutans. I examined how changes in fruit availability influenced social behavior, stress and intestinal parasite infection, and how the interaction among these factors change over the lifespan with reproductive status.

Current Projects: I am monitoring parasites in orangutans over time to examine how changes in fruit availability influence infection patterns. I am currently collaborating with Dr. Erin Vogel to assess the physiological impact of fruit scarcity on these critically endangered apes, and to understand the energetics of sociality.

Teaching Interests: primate behavior and ecology, conservation, reproductive ecology, research methods in evolutionary biology, biological anthropology

Publications:

O’Connell, C.A., DiGiorgio, A.L., Ugarte, A., Utami Atmoko, S., Vogel, E.R. (In prep). Episodes of low fruit lead to muscle wasting in wild Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii). Biology Letters.

O’Connell, C.A., Foitova, I., Setiadi, W. & Knott, C.D. (In prep). Assessing the risk of parasite transmission as a cost of sociality in wild Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbii). International Journal of Primatology.

O’Connell, C.A., Emery Thompson, M., Susanto, T.W., Knott, C.D (In prep). Socializing is stressful for orangutans with high energetic needs in Gunung Palung National Park, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. American Journal of Primatology.

Knott, C.D., Scott, A., O’Connell, C.A., & Kane, E. (In press). Field Laboratories for Conservation. Conservation Field Methods. Wich, S. (Ed).

Knott, C.D., Kane, E.E., Achmad, M., Barrow, E.J., Bastian, M.L., Beck, J., Blackburn, A.B., Breeden, T.L… O’Connell, C.A., Philp, B.J., Rahman, E., Riyandi, Robinson, N., Scott, A.M., Scott, K.S., Mitra Setia, T., Setiadi, W., Setiawan, E., Sumardi, I., Rodriguez Suro, R., Tamariska, W., Emery Thompson, M., Susanto, T.W. (In press). The Gunung Palung Orangutan Project: Twenty-Five Years at the Intersection of Research and Conservation in a Critical Landscape in Indonesia. Biological Conservation. For inclusion in a Special Issue on Long Term Research in Tropical Ecology and Conservation.

O’Connell, C.A., Susanto T.W., & Knott, C.D. 2019. Sociosexual behavioral patterns involving nulliparous female orangutans (Pongo sp.) reflect unique challenges during the adolescent period. American Journal of Primatology, e23058.

Knott, C. D., Scott, A. M., O’Connell, C. A., Scott, K. S., Laman, T. G., & Susanto, T. W. (2019). Possible male infanticide in wild orangutans and a re-evaluation of infanticide risk. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 7806.

O’Connell, C.A. & DeSilva, J.M. 2013. Mojokerto revisited; Evidence for an intermediate pattern of brain growth in Homo erectus. Journal of Human Evolution, 65, 156-161.