Swamp Forests, Great Apes, and Conservation Realities

Event Details

Swamp Forests, Great Apes, and Conservation Realities: Primate Research in Indonesia and the Republic of Congo with Katherine Meier

Imagine walking every day through a rainforest with water up to your waist, pythons and crocodiles lurking beneath tree roots, and surviving off a seasonal diet of caterpillars and forest honey. For the last year, this was my day-to-day: I am a doctoral student at Yale University, conducting conservation-focused research on lowland gorillas living in a seasonally-flooded swamp forest in the Republic of Congo. In this talk I’ll discuss my trajectory from CT native, to undergraduate anthropologist, to orangutan research assistant and, finally, to PhD candidate specializing in gorilla conservation. You’ll hear (and see) about tropical swamp forests in Indonesia (Borneo) and the Congo Basin: their biodiversities, cultures, and conservation realities. You’ll get a glimpse into the life of a field primatologist as well as the lives of the great apes (orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees) and local people who call these forests home.

Katherine Meier is a Doctoral Candidate in Yale University’s combined Anthropology/ Environmental Studies PhD program. Her research interests broadly include great ape field research, tropical forest conservation, wetland forest ecology, and environmental anthropology. Katherine grew up in Madison, Connecticut, and then went on to receive her BA from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. At Macalester, she became interested in cross-disciplinary anthropology and got her first taste for primate field research studying lemurs in Northwest Madagascar. After college, Katherine went on to serve as a research assistant for a long-term orangutan study site in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. This experience, studying wild great apes in a peat-swamp forest ecosystem, shaped the research she is now undertaking for her doctorate. Outside of her research, Katherine is a competitive volleyball player, artist (printmaking and carving), and prolific baker!


This program is free and open to all. Please register.