Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology & University of Leipzig
Prof. Dr. Anja Widdig
e-mail: anja_widdig@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de
phone.: ++49 (0)341 9736 707
Position: PhD student
Research Group "Primate Behavioural Ecology"
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
University of Leipzig Faculty of Life Science
Institute of Biology
Behavioral Ecology Research Group
The extensive conversion of tropical forest into oil palm plantations represents a major threat for many primate species in Southeast Asia. Malaysia is a biodiversity hotspot with high primate diversity but still loses large parts of its natural habitat to new oil palm plantations. Pig-tail macaques (Macaca nemestrina, IUCN: vulnerable), a common yet understudied local primate species, are directly affected by this conversion and widely regarded as pest to oil palm crops. It is yet poorly understood in how far primates can adapt to this landscape matrix. I am interested in the pig-tail macaques’ behavioural adaptability and genetic predisposition to cope with such changes. During my PhD project I want to investigate I) genetic diversity across wild pig-tail macaque populations in Peninsular Malaysia, II) how the conversion of primary tropical forest into oil palm plantations impacts on and modifies the feeding and social behaviour of pig-tail macaques and III) the role of pig-tail macaques for biological pest control at oil palm plantations and their implication for mitigating human-wildlife conflicts.
My study is conducted in collaboration with “Macaca Nemestrina Project” (Dr. Nadine Ruppert, Universiti Sains Malaysia).