Michelle Sauther
Faculty: Biological Anthropology

Research Focus

Professor Sauther’s major focus of research is to better understand how both immediate and long-term environmental factors interact with inter-individual variation to affect primate behavior and biology. In essence, she is very interested in how primates “negotiate” living within a variety of environments.

  • How do they deal with both natural and human-induced changes?
  • How does this affect their life history patterns, growth and development, as well as disease ecology?

Her research is deeply interdisciplinary, and brings together wildlife veterinarians, geneticists, biochemists, mechanical engineers, evolutionary morphologists and many others to truly address these issues from a synthetic perspective.

Areas of Research

Working with Professor Sauther

Professor Sauther’s students focus on understanding the effects of natural and human-induced change on primate biology and behavior. Their research includes characterizing the development of tooth wear and dental senescence among ring-tailed lemurs to examine how behavior, health and ecology are related to patterns of dental wear; lemur skeletal biology; ring-tailed lemur conservation biology and ring-tailed lemur behavioral ecology.

Professor Sauther is accepting graduate students for Fall of 2018. 

More about Professor Sauther

Professor Sauther’s research concentrates on how natural and anthropogenic factors affect the behavior, demography, health, and genetics of wild primates at two sites. The first focuses on the endangered ring-tailed lemurs at the Beza Mahafaly Special Reserve in Madagascar (BMSR) and other places in Madagascar. The second research site is the Lajuma Research Centre in South Africa where her team is studying the ecology, biology, thermoregulation, population demography and health of two sympatric galago species. This project centers on understanding how primates living outside of tropical climates adjust to challenging environmental constraints. Sauther is, in essence, trying to understand the biology of change.