Students and faculty streamed back into the small conference room laughing and chatting warmed up by coffee and pastries. While there were just one hundred of us at Rutgers that weekend, it wasn’t for lack of interest (in fact, demand exceeded the capacity of the room!). The aim was to create a relaxed atmosphere at a small meeting. This meant that at the first annual Nor’Eastern Primate Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior meeting, people got a chance to stop and discuss ideas instead of only rushing from one poster session to the next talk.
The conference opened with a talk by Dr. Jenny Tung. She described how the gut microbiome (the genome of myriad bacteria living symbiotically in the guts of their hosts) of baboons appears to be mediated in part by their social network. We also learned that female adolescent orangutans can initiate sexual encounters with males lasting up to almost two hours; that sympatric guenons show evidence of character displacement in facial patterns; and that barium levels in teeth could inform weaning events in humans and other primates.
During the business meeting, members voted to rename the Nor’Eastern Primate Ecology Evolution and Behavior (NEPEEB) group to the slightly less unwieldy North Eastern Evolutionary Primatology (NEEP) group. Members also elected their representatives. I’m proud to write that two NYCEP students were elected: Emma Cancelliere as the student representative and Megan Petersdorf as the co-webmaster with Dr. Katie Hinde. Congrats ladies!
That evening we waited eagerly to hear who would be the first winners of the annual competition. Ariana Strandburg-Peshkin won best podium presentation for her talk on decision making in-wild baboons. Tim Webster won the poster award for his work on sifaka lemur exomes.
Finally, the evening ended with a group photo and a relaxed evening out. Hats off to the organizers for a successful and productive event. We all look forward to the next NEEP conference set for Fall 2015 and hope to see you there!
You can find the storify post of the conference here.
Check out the list of contributions from NYCEP students (†) and faculty:
Social influences on longevity in adult female blue monkeys
- Nicole A. Thompson† and Marina Cords
Ecological niche evolution and speciation processes in primates
- Mary E. Blair and Eleanor J. Sterling
Nutrient balance and patch departure decisions in black and white colobus monkeys
- Caley A. Johnson†, David Raubenheimer, Colin A. Chapman, Kaia J. Tombak, Andrea J. Reid and Jessica M. Rothman
Using museum specimens for genomic analyses of primates
- Andrew S. Burrell, Todd R. Disotell, Sarah Haueisen and Christina Bergey†
Environmental DNA and conservation biology
- Todd R. Disotell
The evolution of guenon face patterns
- James P. Higham and William L. Allen
Effects of demographic context on kin biased affiliation in wild female blue monkeys
- Eleni Nikitopoulos and Marina Cords
Fission-fusion dynamics in wild ruffed lemurs may be driven by spatial overlap, but not kinship
- Andrea L. Baden, Tim Webster, Brian Gerber and Brenda J. Bradley
Humeral morphology at Taung reflects postcranial and locomotor evolution in the Cercocebus/Mandrillus and Papio/Lophocebus/Theropithecus clades
- Christopher C. Gilbert, Maressa Q. Takahashi† and Eric Delson
Sexual swelling symmetry and social attractiveness in wild female olive baboons (Papio anubis)
- Megan Petersdorf† and Caroline Ross
Elaine is a Ph.D. student in NYCEP concentrating on the biomechanics of climbing