31.03.2017 - 02:32
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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

Laura Hagemann

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

Phone: +49 341 3550 269
E-mail: laura_hagemann@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de

Research Interests

I am currently working on my Ph.D. with a focus on genetic inference of ape population dynamics in Loango National Park, Gabon. The study area comprises ~100 km² of diverse habitat in which central chimpanzees and western lowland gorillas live sympatrically. Since January 2014 the area has been thoroughly searched for fecal samples based on a grid cell design.

Our current understanding of group dynamics in gorillas and chimpanzees is limited since the simultaneous, direct observation of multiple social groups is challenging. For gorillas most information is gained from single habituated groups or limited observations when groups visit swampy clearings ('bais"). Genetic methods, however, enable us to track individuals over time and utilize information on their spatial and temporal distribution. This allows us to infer group membership, changes in group composition, and group formation and dissolution, thereby providing a quantitative, long-term view of group dynamics.

In my study I want to compare the data collected in 2014-2017 with similar data collected in 2005-2007. This will enable us to detect both changes in group composition as well as individual movements between groups that have occurred across the last decade. Together with estimating the current population size using genetic mark recapture, we can assess the change in population size and the stability of gorilla social groups over time.

In the next step we want to compare these results to similar data from mountain gorillas living in a very different environment. This will allow us to investigate the causes and consequences of key differences in social structure, such as the presence of one silverback male in western gorillas groups and the frequent presence of multiple males of reproductive age in mountain gorilla groups. This will be augmented by a further similar analysis of central chimpanzees at Loango, thereby broadening the scope of comparison to include these two sympatric apes.

I studied biology at the University of Mainz and conducted my diploma theses on alternative methods of measuring sequence evolution using the example of the sperm protein AKAP3 (A-kinase anchoring protein 3) within primates. In general I am interested in using different genetic and genomic methods to approach evolution or conservation linked questions.