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Joanna E. Lambert


Biological Anthropology

Joanna E. Lambert


Ph.D, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997


(210) 458-6661


MH 4.04.38


Department of Anthropology
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249



My theoretical interests are in evolutionary and community ecology, with a taxonomic focus on the Order Primates. I have worked in a number of sites in the Paleo- and Neotropics. However, my primary field site is Kibale National Park, Uganda, where – since 1991 – I have studied a diversity of primate and plant species. Over the years, my research has developed along three complementary and synergistic trajectories, including: (i) nutritional ecology and the evolution and morphology of feeding biology, (ii) tropical community ecology (esp. primate-plant interactions), and (iii) conservation biology.

Most recently, I have been exploring phenotypic plasticity in primate feeding biology and its implications at evolutionary and ecological scales. At an evolutionary scale, I am currently evaluating the significance of intra-species plasticity for understanding the evolution of niches, feeding guilds and species richness. At an ecological scale, I am exploring the implications of feeding plasticity for species coexistence and for tolerating anthropogenic stress.


With my training and research interests in ecology, evolution, and anthropology, I am in a position to provide students with a perspective that crosscuts traditional disciplinary boundaries. In our increasingly complicated world, I find that inter-disciplinary training is particularly relevant, especially in the context of conservation ecology. My teaching philosophy is geared toward involving students as much as possible in active reasoning, a critical perspective, and scientific rigor in an interdisciplinary and globalized world. Wherever possible, this involves giving students hands-on research experience, whether it is through laboratories based on behavioral observations, ecological measurements, or computer statistical analysis, or in the field, be it Africa, Latin America, or the diversity of habitats found in North America.

Representative Publications

2014 - Lambert, J.E., Hartstone-Rose, A., Fellner V., McKenney, E. Digestive physiology of binturongs (Arctictis binturong) and kinkajous (Potos flavus): Implications for interpreting evolution of frugivory in Carnivora and Primates.  PLos ONE  9(8): e105415. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0105415

2014 - McKenney, E., Ashwell, M., Lambert, J.E., Fellner, V. Fecal microbial diversity and putative function in captive western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), common chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), Hamadryas baboons (Papio hamadryas), and binturongs (Arctictis binturong).  Integrative Zoology (in press, accepted manuscript online: 18 SEP 2014 09:37AM EST | DOI: 10.1111/1749-4877.12112)

2014 - Lambert, J.E. Evolutionary biology of ape and monkey feeding and nutrition.  In W. Henke, H. Rothe and Tattersall, I (eds): Handbook of Paleoanthropology, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany, 2nd ed

2013 - Chapman CA, Bonnell, T, Gogarten JF, Lambert JE, Omeja PA, Twinomugisha D, Wasserman MD, and Rothman JM. Are primates ecosystem engineers? International Journal of Primatology 24(1):1-14.

2012 – Lambert, J.E, and Fellner, V. In vitro fermentation of dietary carbohydrates in African apes and monkeys: preliminary results on digestive and microbial strategy. International Journal of Primatology 33(1):263-281.

2012 - Markl, J., Schleuning, M. Forget, P.-M., Jordano, P., Lambert, J.E., Travaset, A., Wright, J.   Impact of human disturbance on seed dispersal by animals: A meta-analysis. Conservation Biology 26 (6) 1072 – 1081.

2012 - Blaine, K, and Lambert, J.E.  Digestive ecology of Allenopithecus and Cercopithecus: interpreting the evolution of long retention times in Cercopithecinae.  Journal of Integrative Zoology  7: 183 -191

2011 – Lambert JE. Primate seed dispersers as umbrella species: a case study from Kibale National Park, Uganda, with implications for Afrotropical forest conservation. American Journal of Primatology 73(1):9-24.

2011 – Jordano P, Forget P-M, Lambert JE, Bohnnig-Gaese K, Traveset A. Frugivores and seed dispersal: mechanisms and consequences of a key interaction for biodiversity. Biology Letters 7(2):321-323.