MEGAN PETERSDORF
megan.petersdorf@nyu.edu
Department of Anthropology • New York University
New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology

EDUCATION
2013 - present PhD candidate, Biological Anthropology
New York University
Advisor: Dr. James Higham
Dissertation: “The reproductive ecology of the little-known Kinda baboon (Papio kindae)”

2016 MA, Biological Anthropology
New York University
Advisor: Dr. James Higham
Thesis: "Is the red facial coloration of male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) subject to intra-sexual selection?"

2012 MRes, Primate Biology, Behaviour, and Conservation, distinction
University of Roehampton, London
Advisor: Dr. Caroline Ross
Thesis: "Sexual swelling symmetry, individual quality, and attractiveness in wild female olive baboons (Papio anubis)"

2009 BA, Biological Anthropology
University of California, San Diego

PUBLICATIONS
Peer-reviewed journal articles

Petersdorf M*, Weyher AH*, Kamilar JM, Dubuc C, Higham JP. (2019). Sexual selection in the Kinda baboon (Accepted at Journal of Human Evolution). *co-first-authors

Jolly CJ, Rogers J, Petersdorf M, Phillips-Conroy, JE. Distinctive sexual dimorphism and testis size in kinda baboons (Papio kindae) (In Revision).

Petersdorf M, Dubuc C, Georgiev AG, Winters S, Higham JP. (2017). Is male rhesus macaque facial coloration under intrasexual selection? Behavioral Ecology 28: 1472-1481. (download)

Dubuc C, Allen WL, Cascio J, Lee DS, Maestripieri D, Petersdorf M, Winters S, Higham JP. (2016). Who cares? Experimental attention biases provide new insights into a mammalian sexual signal. Behavioral Ecology 27: 68-74. (download)

Sommer V, Lowe A, Jesus G, Alberts N, Bouquet Y, Petersdorf M, MacGregor Inglis D, Ross C. (2016). Antelope predation by Nigerian forest baboons: ecological and behavioural correlates. Folia Primatoligica 87: 67-90. (download)

Book chapters and Encyclopedia entries

Winters S, Petersdorf M, Higham JP. (2019). Charles Darwin and selection in relation to sex in colors of monkeys. In: DS Wilson, G Geher, H Mativetsky, AC Gallup (Eds), Darwin’s Roadmap to the Curriculum: Evolutionary Studies in Higher Education (pp. 97-116). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. (read)

Petersdorf M & Higham JP. (2018). Mating systems, Primates. In: The International Encyclopedia of Biological Anthropology. (ed. W Trevathan). John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Higham JP & Petersdorf M. (2017). Sexual swellings. In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Wiley Blackwell: Hoboken, NJ. (download)

Petersdorf M & Higham JP. (2017). Mating systems. In: The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. Wiley Blackwell: Hoboken, NJ. (download)

Book and conference reviews

DeCasien AR, Evans KD, Fuong H, Lee DS, Petersdorf M, Petersen RM, Shackelford CM. (2016). Crickette M. Sanz, Josep Call, and Christophe Boesch (Eds): Tool Use in Animals: Cognition and Ecology. International Journal of Primatology 37: 608-611. (download)

Petersdorf M & Higham JP. (2015). Katja Liebal, Bridget M. Waller, Anne M. Burrows, Katie E. Slocombe: Primate Communication: A Multimodal Approach. International Journal of Primatology 36: 1055-1059. (download)

Winters S, Dunayer ES, Petersdorf M, Simons ND, Tinsman J. (2014) Primatology and Conservation in Hanoi, Vietnam. Evolutionary Anthropology 23: 201-204. (download)

Published abstracts

Petersdorf M, Higham JP, Weyher AH (2019). The reproductive ecology of the Kinda baboon: female synchrony and male reproductive skew [abstract]. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 168(S): 189. (read)

Petersdorf M, Higham JP, Williams SA. (2015). What can the skeleton tell us about flanging? Hard-tissue markers of cheek flanges in Mandrillus [abstract]. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 156(S60): 251-252. (read)

FELLOWSHIPS
2019 - 2020 P.E.O. Scholar Award
2019 New York University, Global Research Institute Fellowship, Berlin, Germany
2013 - 2019    New York University, MacCracken Fellowship
2018    DAAD German Academic Exchange Fellowship    
2017 - 2018    U.S. Fulbright Student Program, Zambia
2011 - 2012    University of Roehampton, Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship
2008    San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, Student Fellowship

RESEARCH GRANTS
2017    National Science Foundation: Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant ($25,186)
2017    The Leakey Foundation, General Research Grant ($14,880)
2017    American Society of Mammalogists, Grant-In-Aid of Research ($1,450)
2017    The Explorer’s Club, Exploration Fund Grant ($1,000)
2017    Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology, Grant-in-Aid of Research ($967)
2016    Sigma Xi: The Scientific Research Society, Grant-in-Aid of Research ($970)
2015    American Association of University Women, DAW-CA Scholarship ($2,200)
2015    National Science Foundation IGERT, NYCEP Pilot Research Funds ($3,000)

TRAVEL GRANTS
2019 American Association of Physical Anthropologists, William S. Pollitzer Travel Award ($500)
2018    International Society for Behavioral Ecology, Conference Travel Award ($500)
2016    International Society for Behavioral Ecology, Conference Travel Award ($1,450)
2016    New York University, GSAS Dean’s Student Travel Grant ($500)
2015    New York University, GSAS Dean’s Student Travel Grant ($500)

AWARDS
2017    Dean’s Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award in Social Sciences, New York University
2015    Primate Interest Group Award, Student Presentation Competition, 84th annual meeting of American Association of Physical Anthropologists
2013    Student Presentation Award, 11th annual meeting of the Primate Ecology & Genetics Group, South Africa
2012    Dept. of Life Sciences Award for Postgraduate Achievement, University of Roehampton

FIELD EXPERIENCE
2017-2018
Kasanka National Park, Zambia: “The reproductive ecology of the little-known Kinda baboon” (PhD dissertation fieldwork)
2015 Kasanka National Park, Zambia: PhD pilot fieldwork
2014 Kafue National Park, Zambia: PhD pilot fieldwork
2013  Thanda Private Game Reserve, South Africa: “Longitudinal social effects of PZP vaccine contraception on wild African elephants”
2012  Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Nigeria: “Sexual swelling symmetry, individual quality, and attractiveness in wild female olive baboons”
2010  Spatial and nutritional ecology of chacma baboons in Western Cape, South Africa. PI: P Pebsworth

LABORATORY EXPERIENCE
2018
Endocrinology Laboratory, German Primate Center: Kinda baboon female reproductive hormone analysis. Collaborator: M Heistermann
2016-present Molecular Anthropology Laboratory, New York University: Kinda baboon genetics sequencing: paternity and relatedness. Collaborator: A Burrell
2016 New York University School of Medicine: The oral and vaginal microbiome of genus Cercopithecus. PI: MG Dominguez-Bello
2015 Molecular Anthropology Laboratory, New York University: Laboratory training internship. PI: T Disotell
2008  San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research: “Socio-endocrinology of captive female cheetahs: effects of group housing on reproductive suppression.” PIs: F Bercovitch, M Anderson

OTHER RESEARCH EXPERIENCE
2018
Cognitive Ethology Laboratory, German Primate Center: Kinda baboon vocalization analysis. Collaborators: J Fischer, K Hammerschmidt
2014-2016 New York University: Exploring mechanisms of sexual selection acting on a primate color signal (looking-time experiment video coding, color measurement image coding). PI: C Dubuc
2014 New York University: “Osteological markers of cheek flanges in Mandrillus.” PIs: S Williams, J Higham
2009-2010 UC San Diego Autism Center of Excellence: “Early behavioral markers of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children 12-36 months”
2008-2009 UC San Diego: “Gestural communication and social coordination in captive bonobos.” PI: C Johnson

CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
Petersdorf M, 
Higham JP, Weyher AH. (2019). The reproductive ecology of the Kinda baboon: female synchrony and male reproductive skew. 88th annual meeting of The American Association of Physical Anthropologists, Cleveland OH. [poster presentation]

Petersdorf M, Weyher AH, Dubuc C, Higham JP. (2018). Determining total sexual selection: a case study in a non-human primate. 17th Congress of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, Minneapolis MN. [podium presentation]

Petersdorf M, Higham JP, Phillips-Conroy JE, Rogers J, Jolly CJ. (2016). Sexual dimorphism and testis volume across Papio: where do Kinda baboons fit in? 2nd annual meeting of the Northeastern Evolutionary Primatologists, New York City NY. [podium presentation]

Petersdorf M, Georgiev AV, Winters S, Maestripieri D, Dubuc C, Higham JP. (2016). Is the red facial coloration of male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) subject to intra-sexual selection? International Primatological Society XVII, Chicago IL. [podium presentation]

Petersdorf M, Dubuc C, Higham JP. (2016). Intra-sexual selection and male rhesus macaque facial coloration. 16th Congress of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology, Exeter UK. [podium presentation]

Petersdorf M, Higham JP, Williams SA. (2015). What can the skeleton tell us about flanging? Hard-tissue markers of cheek flanges in Mandrillus. 84th annual meeting of The American Association of Physical Anthropologists, St. Louis MO. [poster*student award

Petersdorf M & Ross C. (2014). Sexual swelling symmetry and social attractiveness in wild female olive baboons (Papio anubis). Inaugural Meeting of the Northeastern Evolutionary Primatologists, New Brunswick NJ. [poster]

Petersdorf M & Ross C. (2013). Sexual swelling symmetry and social attractiveness in wild female olive baboons (Papio anubis) at Gashaka-Gumti National Park. 11th Annual Meeting Primate Ecology & Genetics Group, Tsitsikamma, South Africa. [podium presentation] *student award

INVITED TALKS
2019
New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, New York NY, USA
2018
Centre for Research in Ecology, Evolution, and Behaviour, University of Roehampton, London, UK
2018
BeCog Colloquium, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany
2017
New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, New York NY, USA
2015 New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, New York NY, USA
2014 New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, New York NY, USA

TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Course Instructor
Summer 2019 “Human Evolution,” New York University

Teaching Assistant (laboratory sections)
Spring 2019 Adjunct Instructor, “Human Evolution,” New York University
Fall 2016  Adjunct Instructor, “Human Evolution,” New York University
Fall 2015  Adjunct Instructor, “Human Evolution,” New York University
Spring 2015  Adjunct Instructor, “Human Origins,” New York University

Guest Lecturer
Spring 2019 Life History and Demography, “Primate Behavioral Ecology,” New York University
Fall 2018 Primate Sexual Signals, “Primate Sexuality,” Columbia University
Fall 2015  Primate Behavior, “Human Evolution,” New York University
Fall 2015 Classification of Multimodal Signals, “Primate Communication,” New York University
Fall 2015  Primate Sexual Selection & Mating Systems, “Introduction to Human Evolution,” Hunter College CUNY
Spring 2015  Primate Sexual Selection & Mating Systems, “Introduction to Human Evolution,” Hunter College CUNY

MENTORSHIP
2019 - present
Nini K. (High Schooler, Tbilisi, Georgia), NYAS 1000 Girls 1000 Futures
2019 - present
Ruby Mustill (Columbia undergraduate), research intern
2018
Deanna Hartog (NYU undergraduate), genetics laboratory training
2018 Djemila Compaore (NYU ARISE high school program) "The evolution of lip-smacking in the history of primate evolution"
2018 Madison Mushnick (NYU ARISE high school program) "Grooming and relatedness in Kinda baboons"
2017 - 2018 Field advising and training: Zambian research scout (Simon Siame) and field assistants (Alison Govaerts, Jessica Gunson)
2016 - 2017 Undergraduate student interns, rhesus macaque facial coloration measurements: Constanza Galindo (2016), Flavia Stanton (2016), Judy Dang (2017)
2014 - 2016 Grace Passannante, Kelly Heinzerling (High school science research program) “The effect of zoo visitors on the behavior and stereotypies of gorillas in captivity”

OUTREACH
2014 - present Social media: Blogs (owner: meganinafrica.tumblr.com; contributor: blog.nycep.org); Twitter (@meganpetersdorf)
2017 - 2018 Conservation Education Club; Mpelembe Secondary School, Zambia
2017 - 2018 High School PenPal Project; Mpelembe Secondary School (Zambia) & San Ramon Valley High School (USA)
2017 - 2018 Women's english/math literacy program; Kasanka Baboon Project, Zambia
2017 Guest speaker, "Kinda baboons in Kasanka." Lusaka International School; Kasanka National Park, Zambia
2016 Career Day speaker, Bedford-Stuyvesant Charter School
2016 @Biotweeps Twitter science communication
2015 - 2016 Panelist, New York University Undergraduate Women in Science events
2014 - 2016 Guest speaker, GOALS for Girls, Intrepid Museum
2015 Judge, New York High School Science & Engineering Fair
2015 Judge, CUNY Hunter College Undergraduate Anthropology Conference
2013 Community conservation and education projects; Project Rhino, South Africa
2013 Guest speaker, South African Ecology field school (UConn/Nature Guide Training)
2011 - 2012 Teacher for after-school science clubs; Mother Nature Education, London UK
2010 - 2011 Volunteer Outreach Coordinator, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots in Northern California

SERVICE
2018 - present Reviewer: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Frontiers in Zoology, Animal Behaviour
2014 - 2017  Executive Committee, Northeastern Evolutionary Primatologists
2014 - present  Twitter (@CSHO_NYU@NEevolprimatol); Webmaster (nyuprimatology.comneevolprimatol.org)
2013 - present  Founder, NYCEP student club

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS
American Association of Physical Anthropologists
Animal Behavior Society
American Society of Mammalogists
American Society of Primatologists
Graduate Women in Science
International Society for Behavioral Ecology
International Primatological Society
Northeastern Evolutionary Primatologists
Primate Ecology and Genetics Group South Africa
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology