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Meet The Team

Current Researchers and Students

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David Meszaros

Independent Researcher

December 2022 - present

I graduated from the University of California, San Diego, in 2021 with a BA in Biological Anthropology and a minor in Psychology. My research interests focus on the behavioral ecology of predator-prey interactions in sympatric non-human primates. Specifically, I am interested in behavioral adaptations to spatial variation in perceived predation risk and the influence of habitat structure on the expression of anti-predator behavior. I came to GMERC to run a pilot study to explore whether primate species that inhabit closed vegetation exhibit vegetation-specific anti-predator behavior compared to those species that inhabit open areas.

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Theresa Schulze

Independent Researcher

September 2022 - Present

My name is Theresa Schulze. I recently graduated from the Julius-Maximilians University of Würzburg in Germany with a BSc in Biology. I joined GMERC to gain primate field experience before pursuing a Master's program. As mushrooms occur throughout the Issa Valley (esp. during the rainy season) and are long-known to be an important food for Issa's primates, my research focuses on the mycophagy among chimpanzees, baboons and red-tailed monkeys. To do this, I will look at when primates start eating mushrooms, which species they consume, and what percentage of the total diet is comprised by mushroom consumption. In addition, I am interested in the distribution and availability of fungi across Issa and whether this represents a high quality, fought after food! 

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Nora Bennamoun

Independent Researcher

August 2022 - Present

My name is Nora Bennamoun, I am a French student. I have a Bachelor in Biology from the University of Paris-Diderot in France, and I recently graduated in 2021 from the University of Oxford Brookes in England, with an MSc in Primate Conservation. My eagerness to work with chimpanzees led me to GMERC and work in the Issa Valley Research station. As fires occur annually over the dry season at Issa, my primary interest is to investigate how burned landscapes affect primate dietary ecology. I am focusing on primate behavioural responses and specifically diet to see if foods consumed in burned areas have different mechanical properties compared to those in unburned areas. 

During my time here, I will sample foods and analyse them using the FLS II (see picture). The machine allows us to "recreate '' food fractures when consumed by animals and measure e.g., toughness and stiffness of different foods. More soon!

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