Show/Hide University Links

Joanna E. Lambert


Biological Anthropology

Joanna E. Lambert


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


(210) 458-6661


MH 4.04.38

Office Hours

On Research Leave Fall 2013


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

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.

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.

2010 – Lambert JE. Primate nutritional ecology: feeding biology and diet at ecological and evolutionary scales. In Campbell C, Fuentes A, MacKinnon KC, Panger M, and Bearder S (eds): Primates in Perspective, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press.

2009 – Lambert JE. Primate fallback strategies as adaptive phenotypic plasticity: scale, pattern, and process. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 140:759-766.

2007 – Lambert JE. The biology and evolution of ape and monkey feeding. In Henke W, Rothe H, Tattersall I (eds): Handbook of Paleoanthropology. Springer-Verlag.

2007 - Lambert JE. Seasonality, fallback strategies, and natural selection: a chimpanzee versus cercopithecoid model for interpreting the evolution of hominin diet. In P. Ungar (ed): Evolution of Human Diet: The Known, the Unknown, and the Unknowable, University of Oxford Press.