Home: Aliza le Roux, PhD

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Research Background

I am a behavioral ecologist with a focus on the evolution of complex cognition and communication in wild mammals. Through my career thus far I have investigated central questions in cognitive ecology and communication research by studying species with unusual social structures and foraging habits. For my PhD project, I focused on acoustic and olfactory communication in the yellow mongoose, a facultatively social carnivore. While carnivores still lay close to my heart, I went on to do postdoctoral research for the University of Michigan's Gelada Research Project. This was an exciting collaboration, leading most recently to a paper on deception and punishment in wild primates. I am still collaborating on several papers with the University of Michigan, writing about the complex sociality and communicative patterns of gelada monkeys.

Research Plans

I am currently working as senior lecturer at the University of the Free State, Qwaqwa, in South Africa, where I am starting up the new Mammalian Cognition Research Group. In this research group, we are focusing on the cognitive ecology of primates and carnivores, and specifically the bat-eared fox. This monogamous carnivore is unusual amongst canids, both for its insectivorous diet and high degree of paternal care. In my planned research I will build on my expertise with field research to investigate the physiological, developmental and cognitive consequences of the bat-eared fox's unique behavioral patterns. I am also currently conducting captive research at local zoos, assessing differences in spatial cognition and episodic-like memory in canids. Finally, I have a postdoctoral researcher conducting field research at the Lajuma Research Centre, investigating how fear/risk affects the cognitive functioning of samango monkeys.

I am looking for postgraduate students who are interested in carnivore behaviour, cognition, and endocrinology. If you are interested in joining my research group, please do contact me at leroux.aliza "at" gmail.com

* Keep checking back for more details and a website specific to this research group*


You can download my curriculum vitae here