|Behavioral Ecology Group||
Center for Infection and Immunity, Columbia University NY
"Impacts of environmental change on wild non-human primates: behavior and the holobiont, with implications for disease emergence"
Abiotic and biotic components of the environment change and impact one another in ways leading to long-term shifts in ecosystems. I examine how environmental changes impact primate populations using historic data and my own research in Uganda and the Côte d’Ivoire to provide insights into the cascading impacts environmental changes have on primate behavior, ecology, and ultimately microorganism transmission and pathogen emergence. Sylvatic anthrax is a persistent and widespread cause of death for mammals and will likely lead to the extirpation of chimpanzees. Flies in mangabey group contained DNA of anthrax and Treponema pallidum, a pathogen responsible for syphilis and yaws disease in humans, suggesting fly associations as a cost of sociality exposing primates to a diversity of pathogens. Collectively, this work suggest environmental changes and corresponding changes in primate behavior and sociality might alter the disease risk for wildlife and ultimately humans living nearby.