Lecturer in Human Biology, University of Cambridge

My research interests are in the general area of evolutionary biology, encompassing and integrating the fields of morphology, behavioural ecology, molecular ecology and eco-physiology.

I originally trained in Zoology at the University of Edinburgh. Then I went on to study for an MSc and PhD in Anthropology and Primatology at the University of Barcelona. During this time I developed a behavioural model to explain the proximate causes of increased levels of stress among primate populations living in fragmented habitats in Mexico. From 2010 - 2012, I carried out postdoctoral research in PrIME and at the University of Veracruz, where I carried out research into the immunogenetics and population genetics of New World primates.


Over the last couple of years, I have developed two main projects: the first investigates the evolution of communication systems using comparative data from living primates. The second examines the evolution of coat colour in primates. Both projects use an interdisciplinary approach to understand how habitat, socio-ecology, health, physiology, genetics and life history traits relate to variation in phenotypic traits important for communication and reproduction.

Current Projects:

The evolution of speech: insights from non-human primate vocal anatomy (PI)

Sexual selection and the evolution of coat colour in primates (PI)

Migrations and relatedness: behavioural strategies of howler monkeys in fragmented forests (PI Joaquim Vea, University of Barcelona).

Molecular phylogenetics of Mesoamerican howler monkeys: resolving taxonomic uncertainties and redefining conservation priorities (PI: Leslie Knapp; Collaboration with Ernesto Rodríguez-Luna, University of Veracruz, Mexico).

Evaluation of the distribution, population size and vulnerability of threatened species (jaguar, tapir, primates, bats and birds) to determine areas and strategies for conservation (PI: Dr Cristina MacSwiney; Collaboration with the University of Veracruz, Mexico).

Vocal plasticity and fragmentation in A. palliata: Instrument for the evaluation of the status of populations (PI: Joaquim Veà, University of Barcelona).

Testing molecular markers for phylogeography in new World primates (PI: Leslie Knapp).


  • –present
    Lecturer in Human Biology, University of Cambridge