Stable Isotope Ecology

With Vicky Oelze, PI of the Primate Ecology and Molecular Anthropology Lab (PEMA) at University of California, Santa Cruz, we are investigating the relationship between chimpanzees and Macrotermes termites in the Isaa valley of Tanzania. Led by Seth Phillips (right at Issa, 2018), a PhD student in the Oelze lab, this work will address the ecological relationship between Issa chimpanzees and termites, especially the environmental triggers to fishing season and the broader temporal and spatial patterns of fishing. 


Seth has already spent one field season at Issa and will return soon to investigate whether swarming behaviour of the Macrotermes alates as well as experimentally replicating termite-fishing behaviour at a selection of Macrotermes mounds. From long-term camera trap footage Seth will additionally assess the timing, the duration/intensity and the mode of chimpanzees visiting and re-visiting termite mounds. Seth's first manuscript on this work is due out in winter 2020!

Low nest (May 2018).jpeg