I am an Anthropology Ph.D. candidate at Washington University in St. Louis working with Dr. Jane Phillips-Conroy. My dissertation research addresses a hybrid zone where kinda baboons (Papio kindae) and grayfooted chacma baboons (P. ursinus griseipes) – species with different social behaviors and appearance – interbreed. Specifically, I am investigating the external appearance, social organization, mating strategies, and genetics of one baboon hybrid group there, as well as the mechanisms and dispersal patterns that best explain baboon hybridization there.
In the summer of 2011 and 2012, I participated in baboon trapping studies in Kafue National Park North and South. From July 2012 to July 2013, I then undertook my own dissertation research in Ngoma, the Kafue National Park South Headquarters.
As part of this dissertation research, I habituated the hybrid group and radio collared two individuals to facilitate the tracking and habituation of this group. Starting in January 2013, my local Zambian field assistant and I collected behavioral data and fecal samples for genetic analysis.
Since July 2013, I have been undertaking my genetic lab work in Dr. Alan Templeton's Laboratory in the Biology Department at Washington University and have begun analyzing my behavioral data. Also, during this time, my Zambian field assistant has been recording behavioral data and checking on my baboons and their reproductive status a few days each month. Since my last time in the field, several new females have been come into estrous and several new infants have been born. Thus, I plan to return to Zambia from June-August 2013 to collect some addition behavioral data and fecal samples.