Brandon Semel

B.S. Evolutionary Anthropology, Environmental Science, 2013, Duke University

Academic Biography:

Q. Where is your study area located? Madagascar

Q. What is your focus of research? I am interested in how Madagascar's primates respond to anthropogenic habitat disturbance. Ultimately, I am concerned with how this disturbance affects the viability of populations and what can be done to stop it.

Q.Why did you choose NIU? For the opportunity to work with Dr. Mitchell Irwin.

Q. Who is your advisor? I chose to work with Dr. Irwin due to his extensive work in Madagascar on the effects of forest fragmentation on lemur ecology.

Q. What advice would you like to share with incoming students? Don't stress! Take your work seriously, but enjoy what you're learning and have fun with it.

Q. What research projects have your participated in?

  • 2 summers of field work in Mandrare Valley in southern Madagascar investigating lemur population densities and the effects of habitat disturbance on the behavioral and nutritional ecology of Verreaux's sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi).
  • Herpetofauna avifauna, and vegetation surveys were also conducted in an effort to develop a Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance report in support of application for a new Biosphere Reserve.
  • Independent research on critically endangered silky sifakas (Propithecus candidus) in northern Madagascar's Makira Natural Park to determine how the animals were affected by altitudinal, geographic, and habitat quality differences.
  • I have also participated in long term monitoring of vertebrates and fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) ecology in northwestern Madagascar.