Feeding Ecology of Mountain Gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes
January 2, 2009
My post-doctoral research at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (2009-2011) focused on the feeding and socio-ecology of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes, Rwanda.
In collaboration with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, I assessed how the dramatic increase in population density and group size in the Karisoke study area impacts on the habitat, group dynamics (daily travel distance and energy expenditure), female social relationships (dominance interactions, feeding competition), and fitness (female energetic condition).
This research contributes to ongoing larger scale comparative studies of gorilla feeding ecology at several locations and enhances our understanding of the evolution of sociality and population dynamics for one of our closest relatives and also assists in conservation efforts of this endangered population.