African Graduate Student Research Fund

Chair

Members

  • Bernad Agwanda (Kenya)
  • Bruce Buttler
  • Adam W. Ferguson
  • Jacob R. Goheen
  • Prince Kaleme (DRC)
  • Alicia V. Linzey
  • Molly M. McDonough
  • Patricia D. Moehlman
  • Ryan W. Norris
  • Safian Rabiu (Nigeria)
  • Chloé W. Rodriques (Canda)
  • Robert K. Rose
  • Duane A. Schlitter
  • Sydney R. Stephens

History and Mission

The African Graduate Student Research Fund committee was formed in 2013 as an ad hoc committee and was promoted to a standing committee in 2016. Its mission is to support the next generation of African mammalogists by awarding individual grants of $1,500 and an online ASM membership to African nationals pursuing graduate degrees. Between 2014 and 2017, two awards were granted annually; in 2018, three awards were given out thanks to growth in the fund made possible by several generous donations. The next deadline for applications is 15 March 2018.

2018 Award Winners

The American Society of Mammalogists congratulates this year’s successful applicants, wishes them the best of luck with their research, and looks forward to learning of their results!

Brou Guy-Mathieu Assovi is a Ph.D. student at Felix Houphouët-Boigny University (Cote d’Ivoire) studying pangolins in and around the largest forested national park (Tai) in Cote d’Ivoire and its only recognized community conservation area. All three pangolin species known to occur in the area are exploited for bushmeat, yet little is known about their ecology, making it difficult to prioritize areas and habitats for conservation. Brou’s research is focused on the Black-bellied Pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla)—the least-studied of Africa’s pangolins—as well as the Giant Pangolin (Smutsia gigantea), but he will also collect data on the White-bellied Pangolin (P. tricuspis). Brou will use his award to purchase telemetry equipment and pay local field assistants in his effort to capture and radiotrack up to 30 pangolins. He and his team will collect data on habitat, movement, behavior, and prey selection, while also investigating local community use of pangolins as an important source of protein. Collectively, these critical baseline data will form the basis of a national pangolin management action plan and will be a platform to raise awareness about the need to protect pangolins throughout West Africa.

Ernest Fotsing is pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Dschang (Cameroon). For his dissertation, he is studying the behavioral ecology of western gorillas in Campo’o Ma’an National Park (South Cameroon) as they adapt to increasing anthropogenic pressure and ecotourism. Funding from ASM will support his team of intrepid field biologists and trackers as they record information on local climate, vegetation, plant phenology, gorilla behavior, and human activity. In addition to providing much-needed data on basic gorilla ecology in the park, Ernest’s research will inform the sustainable-use strategy for one of Cameroon’s key conservation areas.

Yadok Biplang Godwill is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand). His work is focused on understanding the seed-dispersal effectiveness of African giant pouched rats (Cricetomys sp.) in an Afromontane forest in his home country of Nigeria using a combination of camera trapping, live trapping, and seed-removal experiments. Yadok will use funds from his award to purchase camera traps and associated hardware. Results from his ambitious field study will provide useful information for the management of large-seeded tree species that have lost their large-bodied primary seed dispersers (chimpanzees in this case).

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