Thursday, October 22, 2009

Duke School Students help Duke Lemur Center

The following are articles written by Duke School 5th grade students about their visit to Duke Lemur Center

Duke Lemur Center: A service learning project
An Introduction to the Lemur Center
By Charlotte Buck

On Monday September 28 the fifth grade went to the Duke Lemur Center. While we were walking over we spent time estimating the amount of trash we would pick up. Some people guessed fifty pieces and others guessed five but everyone was so excited! Our
new Duke School teacher, Laura, has wanted to go but never had a chance.

We had a wonderful introduction by Charlie Welch about Madagascar and the lemurs that live there. We also talked about the main goals of the lemur center which are: Research, Conservation, and Education. They are also home to 215 animals, 204 of which are lemurs.

After the slide show I had an opportunity to talk to Emma Thorp who believed that they are trying very hard and succeeding.

Facts about Lemurs
By Taylor Marshall

Grade 5 was on their way to the Duke Lemur Center as I asked a question to some
of the students. “How many pieces of trash do you think you’ll pick up?” I asked.
“5 or 6”, Casey said.
“I think 7”, Cammie added.
“15”, said Sarah.
We picked up six bags of trash in

Once we got to the Lemur Center we found out that out of the 22 species of lemurs at the Lemur Shelter. The aye-aye is the most popular lemur. There are 204 lemurs at the center. There was a lot of amazing facts although there were a few facts that stood out more then others. Some of the ones that I thought stood out were:
• The lemurs in Madagascar most likly rafted from Africa to get there.
• There are 70 different species of lemurs in Madagascar.

Stay tuned for the next report of the
Duke Lemur Center.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Live in the Durham, NC Area? Want to help Lemurs?

VolunteerFest 09
October 28, 2009

Please come join us at our first VolunteerFest! This is an opportunity for you to meet other Technician Assistants (TAs) and learn more about the Duke Lemur Center. In addition, we will have an All TA Meeting to discuss and plan the future of the program.

This is a unique experience only being offered to our TAs and those who are interested in learning more about our program. Please help spread the word and extend the invitation to friends and other students who may be interested in becoming involved with DLC.

We look forward to seeing you! Please rsvp to by 10/26/09

VolunteerFest 09

3:00 Facility Tour, Keith Morris, Education Manager

3:45 Opening, Dr. Anne Yoder, Director

4:30 Break

4:45 Madagascar Conservation, Charlie Welch, Conservation Coordinator

5:10 DLC Breeding Program, Andrea Katz, Colony Manager

5:25 Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Cathy Williams, Senior Veterinarian

5:45 Lemur Research, Dr. Sarah Zehr, Research Coordinator

6:15 Break (Pizza and drinks provided)

6:45 Technician Assistant Meeting, Meg Dye, Behavioral Management Coordinator

Monday, October 5, 2009

Duke Lemur Center draws researchers from across the nation and around the world

What’s with all the Canadians? Duke Lemur Center seems to have been inundated by researchers from the Great White North this summer. And it can’t just be the weather, as I hear tell it’s quite pleasant there this time of year. Let’s see if I can even name them all: Dr. Kathleen Muldoon, a Canadian researcher based at Dartmouth University, was here studying energy expenditure in our free-ranging ring-tailed lemurs. Dr. Tracy Kivell, a Canadian who has been a postdoctoral researcher here in Duke’s Evolutionary Anthropology department, has been intensively collecting data on aye-aye locomotion all summer before she heads off to a new research position at the Max Plank Institute in Germany. Drs. Sergio and Vivian Pellis came down from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada (though I should mention that they are Canadians from Australia) to study rough and tumble play in our infants. One of our long-term Canadian researchers, Dr. Marylene Boulet, has been a post doc at Duke studying olfactory communication in ring-tailed lemurs, but she returned to Canada late in the summer to take a research position there. Even the Canadian Discovery Channel was here to film some aye-aye locomotion research for a segment on the show “The Daily Planet”.

And Canada isn’t the only far-off land from which our researchers hail. Masters student Lucy Todd from Roehampton University in London (though she is actually Scottish) is also here recording Sifaka vocalizations, and Dr. Lap Ki Chan made the trip from Hong Kong to study how lorises reach from one substrate to another as they travel.

While we are very proud of our international appeal, let’s not forget our visiting researchers from the good old US of A! Dr. Jandy Hanna from West Virginia School of Medicine has spent much of the summer here studying lemur locomotion, Tess McLoud, a student at Dartmouth, came down to observe ring-tailed lemur infant-male interactions, and Peter Flynn, a high school student from New York who is part of the Intel Mentorship Program, spent all of July collecting data on ring-tailed lemur foraging. Gini Dawkins from Hunter College in New York recently paid a visit to document play behavior in sifakas and red-ruffed lemurs, and Dr. Matt O’Neill, from SUNY Stonybrook, made two trips to the DLC this summer, collaborating with both Dr. Hanna and Dr. Muldoon.

Dr. Roshna Wunderlich, a frequent year-round visitor from James Madison University, made several appearances over the summer to continue her study of sifaka locomotion, Dr. Chris Mercer from Northwestern University will make his third annual visit to do alarm call playback experiments later this month, and Dr. David Hollar, from UNC, will be making the long journey from Chapel Hill to observe and document how ring-tailed lemur groups interact and how they use their environments.

Summertime for some means more downtime, and this is particularly true for students and academics, who tend to have reduced class and teaching responsibilities. Many researchers take this opportunity to travel to the field or to other institutions (such as the DLC) to gather data not accessible to them at home. Which is all well and good but leaves me now, at the end of the summer, in desperate need of a vacation. Perhaps I’ll go to Canada.