Michelle Sauther
Ph.D. • Washington University • 1992)

HALE 129

Office Hours
TTH 10:45-12:30


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. Her current research focuses on understanding how environmental stressors such as anthropogenic-induced factors and climate impact both the biology and behavior of wild primates. Her research combines both field work and collaborative laboratory work with geneticists, research veterinarians and others to assess biological markers of ecological stress that includes biometrics, genetics, physiological and health measures.

Areas of Research

  • South Africa
  • Madagascar

Southern Africa Galago Ecology, Biology and Behavior.

Professor Sauther is currently co-directing the Southern Africa Galago Project at the Lajuma Research Centre, South Africa, which focuses on the comparative ecology, health and thermoregulation of two sympatric species of wild Galagos, Otolemur crassicaudatus and Galago moholi. For this project, she is looking for students interested in nocturnal galago ecology, biology and behavior. Prospective students preferably will have some background/experience in the study of nocturnal mammals and wildlife biology field methods.

Primate dental ecology – how teeth can provide a window into environmental change and reflect the use of the environment.

Professor Sauther’s research laboratory also contains one of the largest collections of longitudinal, wild strepsirrhine dental impressions of Lemur catta collected from her decades long research on this species at Beza Mahafaly, Madagascar. Her collection also includes a large longitudinal and cross-sectional collection of dental impressions of wild Otolemur crassicaudatus from the Lajuma Research Centre.  For this research she is interested in students wanting to conduct original research on the dental ecology of these species. Students should have a working knowledge of modern techniques for studying dentition such as dental topographic analysis using geographic information systems (GIS) and laser scanning methodology.

For more information on Professor Sauther’s projects see: Strepsirrhine Ecology and Biology.

Selected Publications:

  • Sauther ML, Gould L, Cuozzo FP, O’Mara MT. 2015. Ring-Tailed Lemurs – A Species Reimagined Special Topic Issue: Folia Primatologica 2015, Vol. 86, No. 1-2. ISBN:978-3-318-03024-2, DOI: 10.1159/isbn.978-3-318-03025-9.
  • Cuozzo FP and Sauther, ML. 2012. Journal Symposium Volume (Manuscript/Article Coordinator). "Primate Dental Ecology: How Teeth Respond to their Environment", a special issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
  • Fardi S, Sauther ML, Cuozzo FP, Youssouf Jacky IA, Bernstein R. 2018 The effect of extreme weather events on hair cortisol and body weight in a wild ring-tailed lemur population (Lemur catta) in southwestern Madagascar. American Journal of Primatology. EARLY VIEW DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22731
  • Grogan KE, Sauther ML, Cuozzo FP, Drea CM. 2017. Genetic wealth, population health: Major histocompatibility complex variation in captive and wild ring-tailed (Lemur catta). Ecology and Evolution 00:1-12.
  • Gould L and Sauther ML. 2016. Going, going, gone...Is the iconic ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) headed for imminent extirpation? Primate Conservation 30:89-101.
  • Yamashita N, Cuozzo FP, Sauther ML, Fitzgerald E, Riemenschneider A and Ungar PS. 2016. Mechanical food properties and dental topography differentiate three populations of Lemur catta in southwest Madagascar. Journal of Human Evolution 98:66-75.
  • Bennett G, Malone M, Sauther M, Cuozzo F, White B, Nelson KE, Stumpf RM, Knight R, Leigh S, Amato KR. 2016. Host age, social group and habitat type influence the gut microbiota of wild, ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). American Journal of Primatology 78:883-892. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22555.
  • Kotze A, Dalton DL, Strinden M, Sauther ML, Cuozzo FP and Stone AC. 2016. An evaluation of the oral microbiome and potential zoonoses of the South African strepsirrhine primates Otolemur crassicaudatus. African Primates 11 (1): 19-26.
  • Pastorini J, Sauther ML, Sussman RW, Gould L, Cuozzo F, Fernando P, Nievergelt CM and Mundy NI. 2015. Comparison of the Genetic Variation of Captive Ring-tailed Lemurs with a Wild Population in Madagascar. Zoo Biology. 34: 463-472. DOI: 10.1002/zoo.21225.
  • Cuozzo FP, Head BR, Sauther ML, Ungar PS, O’Mara TS. 2014. Sources of tooth wear variation in life among known-aged wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) at the Bezà Mahafaly Special Reserve, Madagascar. AJP. 76:1037-1048. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22291
  • Sauther ML, Cuozzo FP, Youssouf IAJ, LaFleur ML, Fish KD, Ravelohasindrazana LAL and Ravoavy JF. 2013. Limestone cliff-face and cave use by wild ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) in southwestern Madagascar. Madagascar Conservation and Development. 82:73-80.