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Mitchell Irwin

Michell Irwin Photo

Anthropology

Grant Towers South A507
mirwin@niu.edu
Website
*For current publication and grant information

Environmental Focus

Dr. Irwin's research integrates observational techniques and lab analyses to assess how primate health responds to seasonality and habitat degradation. In other words, he writes down what primates do and analyzes things like feces and foods in the lab. The goal of all of this is twofold - to understand ecological adaptations in the wild (especially adaptations to seasonality), and to understand how the threat of habitat degradation affects primate health - hopefully leaving us able to do something proactive about it. 

Current Student Research Opportunities

Students interested in lemurs can get involved in basic research through Dr. Mitch Irwin, whose research focuses on how lemurs respond to habitat degradation in Madagascar. One can engage in field research, either through Dr. Irwin's field school "Madagascar Past and Present", or targeted individual study experiences. Here in DeKalb, there are plenty of opportunities for lab work in parasitology or nutrition, or entering and managing datasets from Madagascar.

Past Student Research Projects

  • Subtle manifestations of female dominance in bamboo lemurs (Hapalemur griseus) - specifically focusing on leadership of group movements, group geometry, and displacements.
  • The function of geophagy in diademed sifakas and brown lemurs at Tsinjoarivo
  • The incidence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia parasites in lemurs, livestock and humans at Tsinjoarivo
  • The group movements, group leadership and expression of female dominance in multiple groups of diademed sifaka
  • The incidence of Cryptosporidium and Giardia parasites in lemurs, livestock and humans at Tsinjoarivo
  • Quantifing the positional behavior of lemurs during defecation and the pathways for contamination of vegetation and helminth parasites found in each species examined

Past Undergraduate-Specific Research

The spatial dynamics of scentmarking in diademed sifakas and bamboo lemurs(USOAR)

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