Discovering and understanding the diversity of life in the SAVA region through innovation and collaboration
Duke student volunteers and graduate research
The Duke Lemur Center collaborates with the Duke ENGAGE student volunteer program to send students on 10-week assignment in the SAVA region. The first Duke ENGAGE students travelled to SAVA in 2013 and supported the fish farm projects and conducted research on the bamboo lemur population at the private nature reserve of Antanetiambo. Two students travelled to Madagascar during the summer of 2014, collecting data on the bamboo lemurs’ use of non-native food sources and mapping new additions to the reserve.
Graduate-level researchers from the Duke Nicholas School of the Environment spent time on the island assessing disturbance and its effect on lemur populations within Marojejy National Park.
Hibernation in primates – Marina Blanco, Ph.D. and dwarf lemurs
The world’s only hibernating primates live in Madagascar. Dr. Marina Blanco, Project Director for SAVA Conservation and post-doctoral researcher with DLC, searches out hibernating dwarf lemurs to gain a better understanding of the physiology behind hibernation in a primate. Working along the east coast, including Marojejy National Park, she catches and fits these tiny lemurs with tracking devices. Once they enter into hibernation, recapturing is difficult, since the lemurs have burrowed up to 18 inches underground. Once acquired, she collects samples and vital sign data.
Dwarf lemurs can spend 6-9 months in hibernation during Madagascar’s dry season. They exhibit dramatically low heart rate, respiration, metabolism and may not move at all for the entire hibernation period.
A deep understanding of primate hibernation could one day improve medical technology or even deep space travel.
Support Staff for Research and Conservation
Lanto Andrianandrasana has been with the project since 2011, starting off with oversight of the first phase of teacher training. Lanto works in all of the various DLC-SC project activities. It keeps him more than busy! Lanto has extensive experience with research and conservation. After receiving his master’s degree from the University of Antananarivo in 2006, Lanto first worked as a field research assistant on a variety of lemur species in Ranomafana National Park. He then went on to do similar work with silky sifakas in various protected areas in the SAVA region.