Advisor: Ryne Palombit
Program: Human Evolutionary Sciences (HES)
I am using experimental measures to quantify inter-individual variation in the stress response, as understood via thumbnail Heatmapthe coping style and stress reactivity frameworks. I completed a 17 month field project on olive baboons in Laikipia, Kenya. In addition to conducting experiments, staff and I recorded behavioral data using focal animal follows, collected fecal samples for Glucocorticoid assays, and took daily GPS tracks. Finally, I conducted personality surveys of the monkeys and gathered genetic samples for subsequent work. My work is significant for understanding the social and evolutionary implications of individual differences, specifically in the relatively conserved stress response. Gaining insight into such variation in our closest ancestors provides an important baseline for elucidating shared elements of our own biology, divorced from the socio-cultural complexities intrinsic to our own species. You can follow me on Twitter @SwmngInAFshbwl.
My work is proudly funded with support from the: Center for Human Evolutionary Studies, Anthropology Department of Rutgers, National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Sigma Xi, American Society of Primatologists, and American Society of Mammalogists. I aim to follow my current work by building on my dissertation experiences and developing additional experimental methodologies to parse out individual variation as well as social effects, preferably while retaining laboratory components.