Amanda Rowe is a PhD Candidate co-advised by Dr. Patricia Wright and Dr. Andreas Koenig in the Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York, USA.
In 2018 and early 2019, Amanda Rowe and her team of foreign researchers, CVB technicians, and local guides completed several pilot studies for Amanda’s PhD work focusing on the community ecology of small bodied, nocturnal lemurs in the family Cheirogaleidae. During these study periods, Amanda collaborated with Mariah Donohue, Eva Stela NOMENJANAHARY, Anna Bockhaus, Luke Martin, and Zachary Ridgway. Together, these researchers and their teams collected about 800 fecal samples from twelve lemur species spanning five research sites. Research was focused in rainforest and dry forest sites of Ranomafana National Park, Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park, and Isalo National Park. These dry forest pilot seasons represented some of the only research to be completed in these areas to date.
During these pilot studies, Amanda and her collaborators conducted diurnal and nocturnal follows, during which time behavioral data and fecal samples were collected. Nocturnal follows in Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park focused on Phaner pallescens for fecal sample collection. In addition to follows, live captures were conducted of Microcebus rufus, Microcebus murinus, Cheirogaleus medius, and Mirza coquereli using live trapping techniques. Upon capture of these animals, Amanda’s team collected fecal samples and morphometric data. Lastly, Amanda and her collaborators conducted nocturnal transect surveys in Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park to estimate population sizes of all nocturnal lemur species in the park. One focus of Amanda’s research is the comparison of targeted insect consumption by sympatric lemurs in both rainforest and dry forest climates. To meet this goal, she has conducted DNA sequencing of prey fragments found in collected fecal samples to understand arthropod consumption in 10 lemur species found in three national parks. This exploratory analysis is the first to apply metabarcoding to understand arthropod consumption in lemurs.
To estimate forest resource availability, Amanda’s team collected about 15,000 insects during these pilot studies using a combination of pitfall traps and night-lighting methods. These specimens will be used to gain a detailed understanding of the insects that lemurs are targeting for consumption along with completion of biodiversity assessments for each site. Secondarily, these insects will be sent to experts throughout the world for identification and possible diagnosis of new species. Collected specimens will be curated and kept in CVB’s Biodiversity Center.
Amanda’s pilot research was funded by Primate Conservation, Inc., Lemur Conservation Action Fund, Animal Behaviour Society, American Society of Primatologists, Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Anthropological Sciences, SBU Graduate Student Employment Union, and Sigma Xi. The results from these pilot seasons will allow for the successful design of Amanda’s dissertation work focusing on community ecology of Cheirogaleids in rainforest and dry forest sites that will be conducted over the next few years.
Interspecific competition is a primary mechanism underlying current community assemblages, particularly in sympatric, closely related species. The evolutionary history of Malagasy lemurs was likely defined by such competition shaped by adaptive radiation, resulting in pronounced niche differentiation which allowed for coexistence in sympatric lemur communities. However, these concepts remain to be rigorously tested due to a lack of fine-scale data regarding between-species interactions within lemur communities. To more fully understand these processes, Amanda's dissertation work aims to apply a combination of innovative technology, such as DNA metabarcoding, and traditional methods, such as transect surveys, to conduct a fine-resolution analysis of the relative influences of competition and niche differentiation on the structure of a sympatric community of nocturnal lemurs in Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park (ZVNP), Madagascar. Past Experience:
Amanda was part of a four year research collaboration investigating how non-native shrubs influence arthropod communities and bottom-up ecosystem dynamics. She spent two years at the Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Biodiversity (CPMAB) where she participated in many projects including a DOD funded project investigating the effects of military proving grounds on arthropod communities and several inventories for national monuments and parks.
Botany and Soils
Amanda has worked on a number of vegetative and soils crews focused on regeneration after fire, bark beetle damage and plant adaptations to changing environments.
Amanda received a MSc in Primate Behavior from Central Washington University in 2017, where she focused on investigating collective decision making in Tibetan macaques in Huangshan National Park, China. For this project, she used social network analysis and structural equation modeling to determine the rules that are used during movement in a group of 50 macaques.
Captive Care Amanda has worked in a number of captive care facilities. She spent four years volunteering at Wolfwood Refuge, a wolf and wolfdog refuge in Ignacio, Colorado with around 70 animals. She was an intern for six months at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde, Arizona where she worked in the bird, reptile and small mammal departments. She was then a volunteer for two years at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Washington and focused on the care of seven chimpanzees