28.01.2015 - 21:16
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Department of Primatology

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (341) 3550 - 200
fax: +49 (341) 3550 - 299

Jessica Junker

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Primatology
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

phone: +49 341 3550 805 
fax: +49 341 3550 299 
e-mail: jessica_junker@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests

My PhD-research focuses on global, regional and site-specific great ape population dynamics and the factors influencing these.

As part of my PhD field research, I coordinated a nationwide chimpanzee and mammal survey across Liberia from August 2010 to May 2012. The data I collected during the survey allowed for the accurate estimation of chimpanzee distribution and abundance, as well as spatial patterns of mammal species diversity and human threats. The data may serve as a platform for conservation authorities to inform future management decisions.

In combination with socio-economic data available for Liberia, I also investigated, which socio-economic factors, such as education, access to protein, poverty and traditional beliefs, influenced species diversity and chimpanzee densities in Liberia. This work is important as much money is being invested in promoting conservation through alleviating poverty, however, rigorous evaluations of the proposed connection between poverty reduction and improved environmental health remain rare.

Future plans for the large-scale extraction of timber and mineral resources and current widespread and high hunting rates present major threats to Liberia’s wildlife populations. I am currently working on a systematic conservation planning approach to evaluate existing- and identify future protected areas in Liberia to ensure the long-term survival of the country’s rich natural resource remains.

I am also currently involved in conducting a follow-up of the nationwide interview survey, which I completed in 2012, to collect information on the effect of the recent Ebola crisis on natural resource consumption, hunting practice, law enforcement, education, migration, security and social interactions in Liberia. We intend to conduct a second follow-up survey in 2016.

At the same time, I am also involved in compiling conservation evidence for all primate species from the published literature. This project is in collaboration with Cambridge University.

My research is funded by the Max Planck Society, the Arcus Foundation, and the Robert Bosch Stiftung. 



The nationwide chimpanzee and mammal survey was conducted in collaboration with the Forestry Development Authority in Liberia.