Joanna Lambert
Environmental Studies

Office: SEEC C227

Office Hours

  • Thursdays  11:00AM - 12:00PM (in Norlin Library) or by appointment

Students can email Joanna to request a meeting.


    • Postdoc, University of Florida (Zoology)
    • PhD, University of Illinois at Champaign - Urbana

    Research Interests

    • Community ecology
    • Plant-animal interactions
    • Nutritional ecology
    • Conservation biology
    • Animal adaptations to anthropogenic landscapes
    • Primates, Carnivora


    Joanna Lambert has a deep passion for our wild and natural world, resulting in a career spent publishing and teaching about evolution, ecology, and the critical conservation issues impacting species interactions and survival.  Previous to her position at CU, Joanna was a professor at University of Texas, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and University of Oregon

    Joanna’s current overarching concerns center on species interactions, coexistence, and animal resilience in the Anthropocene. Her research program is oriented by the fundamental realities that all animals must eat, that how animals meet their nutritional and energetic needs shapes their interactions and coexistence with other species, including humans, and that species interactions and how animals make a living are undergoing an unprecedented rate of change given the Great Acceleration of transformation occurring on our planet.  With this in mind, Joanna and her team investigate the behavior and ecology of wild primates and carnivores using an integrative field and laboratory data set on animal behavior and ecology, physiology, genetics, nutritional chemistry, animal interactions with humans, and human attitudes towards animals in varying anthropogenic landscapes.  Research at Joanna’s primary and on-going field site (Kibale National Park, Uganda) has been underway since 1991, and she is currently developing new and additional work with carnivores in North America (Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem).

    In addition to her teaching and research roles, Joanna Lambert has served as an advisor to the United Nations Environment Programme, is the co-founder of the Northwest Primate Conservation Society, and is currently serving on the Primate Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Fellow of the Linnaean Society.  Joanna has held numerous editorial positions for journals such as Oecologia, the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, the American Journal of Primatology, PLoS ONE, Integrative Zoology, Tropical Conservation Science, and African Primates, and previously served an appointment as the Director of the National Science Foundation’s Biological Anthropology program.

    Joanna’s passion for the natural world extends beyond academic and professional settings. She spends as much time as possible in the great, wild outdoors. This involves adventure travel to some of the remotest places on the planet (most recently, Antarctica and also the Russian arctic) and backpacking in extreme conditions. In addition, Joanna spends any available extra time riding horses, adding to her lifetime bird species list, playing with her two exuberant dogs, eating pizza, listening to music, and getting lost in the mountains.

    A Note For Prospective Students

     Joanna thoroughly enjoys working with students, both undergraduate and graduate, and will be accepting graduate student applications for the 2023-2024 academic year. However, note that there is very limited funding for new PhD students. Please refer to Joanna’s website details of her work to make sure that you are a good fit for her lab:

    If you would like to apply to the Environmental Studies Graduate Program to work with Joanna, you are encouraged you to contact her at  When you do so, please include the following:

    •  CV
    • An indication of why you would like to work with her
    • Description of your research interests and experience.  

    Although Joanna is accepting applications from students who are interested in any region of the world, including equatorial Africa (her primary field region), she is particularly interested in applicants aiming to work on carnivores in North America.