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Institut für Evolutionäre Anthropologie (IEA) Evolutionary Genetics Group

Josephine Hula

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Academic Record

2008-2010: MSc degree in Biology, Anthropology from the University of Zurich, Switzerland
2004-2007: BSc degree in Biology at the University of Basel, Switzerland

Research Interests

My current research interest lies in the study of reproductive success. I am especially interested in the link between dominance status and paternity success in primates, the central question being how males best achieve life-time reproductive success. Dominance and reproductive success has been a popular study subject since over 20 years. Until the present, the reproductive benefits of high dominance rank in a group remain disputed, due to varying results of previous studies. However, new suggestions on how the dominance-impact on reproductive success should be measured and by what variables this impact is influenced make it worthwhile to dedicate oneself to the topic of dominance and reproductive success again.
The aim of my Master’s project is to study dispersal patterns and the influence of social status on paternity success in six free ranging vervet monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops) groups. We hope to reconstruct dominance-reproductive success relationships from genetic data, through assessing the paternity concentration (%) of the dominant male in a group. With the genetic approach we will be able to study male reproductive success without the long term collection of behavioural data in the field. The possession of faecal samples of all the individuals of six free ranging vervet monkey groups together with the knowledge of the dominance rank histories for the last two or three years for these groups will allow us to determine the paternities for the surviving offspring during this time period and to look at the dominance ranks of their fathers. Because we are studying vervet groups which live in adjacent home ranges, we also hope to be able to track males back to their natal group and study their transfer patterns.

Relevant research experience

Volunteer for “Londra Watch” Project, conducted by the Bolivian NGO “Faunagua”. Census of the bolivian river dolphin (Inia boliviensis) in the Itenéz river in collaboration with “Fundación Omacha” (Colombia). August-September 2007.
Volunteer at the Zoological Garden Basel. Work with the greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), pygmy hippopotamus (Hexaprotodon liberiensis) and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) 2003-2004.

Weiterführende Informationen

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Josephine Hula