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LEEP at University of Arizona

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Laboratory for the Evolutionary Endocrinology of Primates (LEEP): University of Arizona

What We Do

Adult male red-bellied lemur Atody with infant Ovy, showing off an example of allomaternal care. Photo by Pierre Lahitsara, as part of a face recognition project.

Adult male red-bellied lemur Atody with infant Ovy, showing off an example of allomaternal care. Photo by Pierre Lahitsara, as part of a face recognition project.

Our program generally focuses on primate research and conservation, with a focus on lemurs. We are concerned with how lemurs negotiate survival and reproduction in dynamic environments.

Most work is conducted in Ranomafana National Park in southeastern Madagascar, but we also do work at Kianjavato and Tsinjoarivo with our collaborators.

What Lemur Species We Study

The majority of our research is conducted with red-bellied lemurs (Eulemur rubriventer), but we are also involved in research with other species, such as the brown mouse lemur (Microcebus rufus), Milne-Edwards sifaka (Propithecus edwardsi), and Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema).

How We Support Local Communities

We engage directly with community members in several ways. We hire local experts to help us conduct our research. We train students and locals without formal education in scientific principles and date collection.

We collaborate with researchers and Centre ValBio staff on grant proposals and research. And, we communicate our research at all stages through disseminating publications, giving presentations to officials, tourism guides, faculty, and students, and co-mentoring students.

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University of Antananarivo

University of Antananarivo: Anthropobiologie et Développement Durable (ADD) Laboratory

What We Do

The Mention Anthropobiologie et Développement Durable (ADD) houses the unique primatology laboratory at the University of Madagascar which contains both lemuroid subfossils and holotypes of living lemurs.

ADD’s main objectives are to:

  • provide training programs about primates,
  • undertake research endeavors, and
  • promote conservation efforts.

The academics and technicians associated with this program partner with institutions at the national and international level including with non-profits, community associations, and government entities.

How We Support Local Communities

ADD is key to improving the abilities of Malagasy university students and helping them become leaders in the field of conservation. This is important as conservation does not just stop with protecting lemurs, but needs to encompass education, awareness raising, and helping local communities take ownership of — and actively engage with — conservation programming.

As a result of ADD, students and alumni now work in many different agencies and institutions within the country. Looking forward, ADD aims to continue working towards programming that supports and promotes the work of researchers and conservationists in Madagascar in a sustainable way.

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University of Torino, Italy

University of torino

University of Torino, Italy

The Babako Team in the Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology (DBIOS)

What We Do

Starting in 2002, the Babako Team in the Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology (DBIOS) has promoted research projects on biodiversity and capacity building in Madagascar and Comoros, at the individual, institutional and social levels Our projects center on increasing awareness of biodiversity and developing initiatives that empower communities to increase control over their lives and take a leading role in conservation of local biodiversity.


The project reflects a strong international partnership led by the DBIOS in collaboration with the Department of Arboriculture and Pomology, both at the University of Torino, Italy, the University of Antananarivo (ESSA), GERP, the University of Toamasina (Gestion des Ressources Naturelles et Environnement – GRENE), the University of Comoros, and the Zoological Society of San Diego.

Visit the DBIOS Website

What Lemur Species We Study

For our academic research, we focus primarily on improving our understanding of primate phonation and vocal abilities. In these efforts, we focus on the vocal communications of indris (Indri indri) and other diurnal prosimians.

How We Support Local Communities

Maromizaha Forest. Photo: Valerie Torti.

Understanding that conservation must have the participation and support of local people to be effective, we have worked on increasing community involvement and awareness, general education outreach, and enhancing the capacity of local conservation managers and guides.

The Primary Forest of Maromizaha

Since 2008, our activities have focused on the primary forest of Maromizaha or “rainforest of the Dragon trees” (150 km east of Antananarivo and 6.5 km from the Analamazaotra Reserve). This forest is now managed by GERP (Groupe d’Etude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar). We aim to increase effective management of this area, by cultivating positive and sustainable societal attitudes towards wildlife in the local communities.

Capacity Building

We undertake this work both by establishing small programs and by implementing capacity-building activities. For example — and in order to increase awareness and develop education outreach programs in communities close to the forest — a multi-purpose centre was built that is just 40 minutes walking distance from the major highway that links Antananarivo to Toamasina.

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Oxford Brookes University


Oxford Brookes University: Nocturnal Primate Research Group

What We Do

The critically endangered Madame Fleurette’s sportive lemur at Tsitongambarika Protected Area near Fort Dauphin. Photo: Marius Andriamorasata.

We are among the leading groups in charge of developing research and conservation in the recently established protected area of Tsitongambarika (south-east corner of Madagascar). No systematic research had been conducted before our arrival. It is considered one of the Lemur Action Plan priorities and one of the last large expanses of lowland rainforest left in Madagascar.

Studying the Activity of Cathemeral Lemurs

Since 1995, we have been studying the proximate and ultimate determinants of day-night activity (aka cathemeral activity) in true lemurs. This activity pattern is extremely rare among primates but common in lemurs, thus offering the unique opportunity to study the key transition between nocturnal and diurnal life during primate evolution.

Studying How Lemurs Respond to Changes in Food Availability and Habitat

A second main stream of our research is focusing on lemur response to change in food availability and habitat disturbance. Since most forested areas in Madagascar have been modified by humans, understanding how lemurs respond to habitat disturbance and/or how they cope with new habitats is urgent. This response is investigated at various levels including thermoregulation, activity and ranging pattern, diet composition and nutritional ecology.

Studying Lemurs in the South-eastern Literal Forest, Andasibe, and Sahamalaza

Since 1999, we have also studied the archipelago of fragments of the south-eastern littoral forest. And, members of our research groups have also studied the behavioural ecology of lemur species in Andasibe and Sahamalaza.

What Lemur Species We Study

Group of Red-fronted brown lemurs in Ranomafana

Group of Red-fronted brown lemurs (Eulemur rufifrons). Photo credit: Mariah Donohue.

The lemur species and field sites where we conducted our work on cathemeral activity are:

  • Collared brown lemur (Eulemur collaris) and Southern lesser bamboo lemur (Hapalemur meridionalis) in the littoral forests of Mandena and Sainte Luce (Fort Dauphin)
  • Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) and Eulemur hybrids in the gallery forest of Berenty (Fort Dauphin)
  • Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufifrons) in the dry forest of Kirindy (Morondava)

Lemurs in the south-eastern littoral forest include:

  • Collared brown lemur (Eulemur collaris)
  • Southern lesser bamboo lemur (Hapalemur meridionalis)
  • Southern woolly lemur (Avahi meridionalis)
  • Dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus sp.)
  • Mouse lemurs (Microcebus sp.)

Members of our research groups have also studied the following lemur species in Andasibe and Sahamalaza, respectively:

  • Hairy-eared dwarf lemur (Allocebus trichotis)
  • Northern giant mouse lemur (Mirza zaza)
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Northern Illinois University


Northern Illinois University: Mitchell Irwin’s Lab

What We Do

Behavioral Ecology, Health and Conservation of Wild Primates

Dr. Mitchell Irwin’s research examines the ecology and behavior of lemurs in a range of habitat types (from highly disturbed fragments to relatively intact continuous forest) in Tsinjoarivo, eastern Madagascar.

One major focus of this research is improving our understanding of lemurs’ unique adaptations (compared to other primates), which might be linked to ecological conditions in Madagascar. The second major focus is examining lemurs’ range of habitat tolerances and their ecological and behavioral responses to habitat disturbance and fragmentation.

Diademed sifaka. Photo: Cat Rayner.

Research Supported by Sadabe

This research complements and is facilitated by Sadabe, an LCN member organization working in Madagascar.

What Lemur Species We Study

The main focus has been on the diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) but other aspects of my research have focused on the lemur community and my group is expanding to focus on bamboo lemurs (Hapalemur griseus) and brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus).

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German Primate Center


German Primate Center

What We Do

The Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology Unit of the German Primate Center has been operating a field station in Kirindy Forest/CNFEREF near Morondava since 1993. We study the behavior, ecology and biodiversity of lemurs, but also of other vertebrates at our study site in Madagascar.

About the DPZ Field Station

The DPZ field station is principally available for external users, but members of the DPZ and students of the University of Göttingen have priority of access to the limited number of available slots. Interested external users will be accommodated on a first-come, first-serve basis; projects dealing with botanical questions or animals other than mammals will be given priority.

Interested parties should communicate their interest in working in Kirindy at least 6 months ahead of time to Prof. Dr. Peter Kappeler.

What Lemur Species We Study

Fat-tailed dwarf lemur father and son. Photo: David Haring.

We are studying the behavior and ecology of 8 sympatric lemur species at Kirindy:

  • Verreaux’s Sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi)
  • Red-fronted Lemur (Eulemur rufifrons)
  • Red-tailed Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur ruficaudatus)
  • Pale Fork-marked Lemur (Phaner pallescens)
  • Fat-tailed Dwarf Lemur (Cheirogaleus medius)
  • Coquerel’s Giant Mouse Lemur (Mirza coquereli)
  • Gray Mouse Lemur (Microcebus murinus)
  • Madame Berthe’s Mouse Lemur (Microcebus berthae)


Video on DW News

Professor Peter Kappeler from the German Primate Center and his team conduct research into the primates in the Kirindy reserve. The scientists are also looking into the behavioral patterns of the lemurs to see what impact the changes are having.

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Pennsylvania State University


Pennsylvania State University: The Perry Lab

What We Do

The Perry lab studies lemur evolutionary ecology and the history of human-lemur interactions in Madagascar using genomic-based methods, including nuclear genome sequencing and analysis.

Several of are projects are led by graduate students at the University of Antananarivo.


We also have an ancient DNA lab for sequencing the complete mitochondrial and even nuclear genomes of the recently extinct, giant ‘subfossil’ lemurs. These data are used to to reconstruct aspects of their behavioral ecology and to make conservation-minded comparisons to the surviving lemur species.

Population Genomic Studies

Finally, as a complement to our lemur work, we have initiated population genomic studies of the people of Madagascar in order to describe the pattern and rate of the population size increase and better characterize the interesting origin and evolutionary history of the Malagasy.

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University of Toronto


University of Toronto: Tropical Research in Edge Effects (TREE)

What We Do

The longitudinal research objective that we pursue is to integrate evolutionary ecology and conservation biogeography to model primate responses to anthropogenic disturbances. The specific aim of our research program is to determine how forest loss, forest fragmentation, and forest edges influence the lemur ecology in Madagascar.

A coquerel’s sifaka in Ankarafantsika National Park in Madagascar. Photo: Lynne Venart.

What Lemur Species We Study

Most of our research is in the tropical dry forests in and around Ankarafantsika National Park in north-west Madagascar, where we study:

  • Coquerel’s sifaka (Propithecus coquereli)
  • Grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus)
  • Golden-brown mouse lemur (Microcebus ravelobensis)
  • Common brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus fulvus)
  • Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz)
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