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Lynne A. Isbell

Education

  • Ph.D., Animal Behavior, UC Davis, 1990
  • B.A., Ethology, Johnston College of the University of Redlands, 1976

About

Lynne Isbell studies primates to understand them as mammals, as members of ecological communities, and as building blocks to our own behavior. She focuses on their behavior and ecology, but she is also interested in their evolutionary history. Natural history and fieldwork are her preferred guides for greater understanding. Professor Isbell has published on a number of topics, including predation, food competition, dispersal, the ecology of social relationships, the evolution of group living, the evolution of bipedalism, and the origin of primates.

Research Focus

Professor Isbell’s overarching research interests are largely focused on primate socioecology, and she will study any topic that helps her understand more fully the ecological conditions that have influenced social behavior and social organization. These include all aspects of food (e.g., competition, spatial and temporal distribution, abundance, and nutrition), predation, dispersal, and ranging behavior. She is field-oriented, and has engaged in multi-year fieldwork in Uganda and Kenya, with briefer forays into Madagascar, Tanzania, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Potential graduate students for her lab are those whose interests are socioecological. 

Selected Publications

  • Le, Q. V., Isbell, L. A., Matsumoto, J., Le, V. Q., Nishimaru, H., Hori, E., Maior, R. S., Tomaz, C., Ono, T., Nishijo, H. (2016). Snakes elicit earlier, and monkey faces, later, gamma oscillations in macaque pulvinar neurons. Scientific Reports 6:20595.
  • Ford, A.T., Goheen, J.R., Otieno, T.O., Bidner, L., Isbell, L.A., Palmer, T.M., Ward, D., Woodroffe, R., and Pringle, R.M. (2014). Large carnivores make savanna tree communities less thorny. Science 346:346-349.
  • Le, Q.V., Isbell, L.A., Nguyen, M.N., Matsumoto, J., Hori, E., Maior, R.S., Tomaz, C., Tran, A.H., Ono, T., and Nishijo, H. (2013). Pulvinar neurons reveal neurobiological evidence of past selection for rapid detection of snakes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110:19000-19005.
  • Isbell, L.A. (2009). The Fruit, the Tree, and the Serpent: Why We See So Well.  Harvard University Press, New York.
  • Isbell, L.A. (2004).  Is there no place like home? Ecological bases of dispersal in primates and their consequences for the formation of kin groups. In Kinship and Behavior in Primates (B. Chapais and C. Berman, eds.). Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 71-108.

 

Teaching

Regularly taught courses: ANT 54: Introduction to Primatology; ANT151: Primate Evolution; ANT 154A: Evolution of Primate Behavior; ANT 250: Primate Behavioral Ecology

Awards

Elected member, California Academy of Sciences, 2015

W.W. Howells Book Award, Biological Anthropology Section, American Anthropological Association, 2014

Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award, 2010