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photo from Daniela HedwigDaniela Hedwig

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

phone: +49 341 3550 219
hedwig[>>> Please replace the brackets with an AT sign <<<]


Current research

I am a biologist with a particular interest in the subjects of behavioural ecology and social cognition. For my Ph.D. dissertation I am investigating the as yet little understood vocal communication system of gorillas. I am intrigued by the study of vocal behaviour, as it promises to sharpen our understanding of the mechanisms through which group living animals maintain their social relationships and coordinate their activities.

In particular, I am studying different aspects of the vocal communication of mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda, and western gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) of Dzanga- Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic. I have carried out a detailed quantitative acoustic analysis of the gorilla vocal repertoire, which enables me to test specific hypotheses concerning the function of the gorilla vocal communication system. Therefore I investigate the influence of behavioural, social and environmental factors on the acoustic variation and usage of the gorilla vocal repertoire.


This work is funded by:


The fascination I have for studying primates in their natural habitats goes hand in hand with the deep sense of gratitude and awe I have always felt for the beauty of nature. Conserving the world’s ecosystems is not only crucial for the well-being of the human species but it is also our moral duty. I am convinced that the success of any conservation activity is dependent on the involvement of the local population. This conviction led me to co-found, in collaboration with the Dzanga- Sangha Project and WWF Germany, the “Kamba ti BaAka”- project which aims to provide long-term medical care for the indigenous Aka people of the Dzanga- Sangha Nature Reserve in Central African Republic. I am also an active member of the Max Planck Conservation Group, in which I was recently involved in an awareness campaign fighting the illegal trade of African great apes.