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Primatology & Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies (PIES) Lab

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We are an interdisciplinary lab group, with shared interest in how human-caused environmental change is influencing animals, particularly nonhuman primates. Our primate-focussed research is mostly based on field research at the Awajishima Monkey Center on Awaji Island, Japan, where we collect field data on behavioural plasticity, movement patterns and decisions, social dynamics and parental behaviour in a free-ranging group of Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata). Other work in our group is related to conservation, climate change impacts on primates and other animals, farmed animals, animal welfare, human-animal interactions, rainforests on the west coast of Canada, and urban ecology and biodiversity in Montreal.

zachary patterson

Sarah E. Turner (PhD University of Calgary, 2010)

Assistant Professor 

Sarah Turner is interested in how the behavioural ecology of nonhuman primates is influenced by human-induced environmental change. She studies the behaviour of free-ranging Japanese macaques with physical disabilities to explore hypotheses related to behavioural phenotypic plasticity, maternal investment and mother-infant interactions, dominance rank, and the adaptive significance of social behaviours. Sarah obtained her PhD in Anthropology (Primatology) from the University of Calgary in 2010. After her PhD, she held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Biology at McGill University. Sarah conducts research at the Awajishima Monkey Center in Japan.

Current Research Projects

Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies (FRQNT) Nouveaux chercheurs
 grant (2018-2020), Optimal spatial movement strategies, foraging and disability among free-ranging Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata)

Current students
Stephanie Eccles


The Risks of Sustainable Industrial Animal Agriculture under Climate Change: A Case Study of North Carolina and its Vulnerable Human and Nonhuman Animal Residents   GPE, Concordia
Yisa Ginath PhD Monitoring forest cover and land use change in the Congo basin under IPCC climate change scenarios Dr. Damon Matthews GPE, Concordia
Brogan Stewart PhD Movement complexity of physically impaired Japanese macaques    GPE, Concordia
Megan Joyce MSc Optimal foraging travel route choice and physical impairment in free-ranging Japanese macaques   GPE, Concordia
Siobhan Knowles (2020) MEnv MITACs Internship Human-Animal Conflict in Environmental Assessment: A Case Study of Bat Translocation Success on Vancouver Island, B.C.   GPE, Concordia
Caroline Lesage BSc Honours Behavioural correlates of alopecia in captive Japanese macaques    GPE, Concordia
Sophie Mortimer BSc Honours A case study of infant theft and co-mothering in free-ranging Japanese macaques   GPE, Concordia
Faye Sun  BSc Research Animal and human migration    GPE, Concordia
Brittany Talarico BSc Research and Volunteer Disability in infant Japanese macaques   GPE, Concordia
Kesley Wilson BSc Student and Volunteer Disability in infant Japanese macaques   Wildlife Biology, McGill
Former students
Name Degree Research Area Co-supervisor Unit
Eva-Maria Hanchar (2020) BSc Honours Calculating carbon footprints: Influences on individual climate-related behavioural choices Dr. Damon Matthews GPE, Concordia
Siobhan Knowles (2020) MEnv MITACs Internship Human-Animal Conflict in Environmental Assessment: A Case Study of Bat Translocation Success on Vancouver Island, B.C.   GPE, Concordia
Juliette Penez (2020)  MSc Internship How Do Animals Deal with Physical Disabilities? An Annotated Bibliography    GPE, Concordia
Anna-Karina Poronovich (2020) BA Honours Protest Signs at the September 27th Climate March: A Research Creation Ecofeminist Analysis and Online Archive Dr. Nalini Mohabir GPE, Concordia
Xiaolan Sun (2020) MEnv Integrating Life Cycle Assessment in China’s Sustainable Development: A Case Study of the Cashmere Industry   GPE, Concordia
Hannah Brown (2019) BA Research Butterfly garden habitats and pollinator diversity in Montreal   GPE, Concordia
Jenny Paola Espitia Contreras (2019) BSc Honours Assessing the effects of congenital limb malformations on social grooming techniques and efficiency of free-ranging Japanese macaques   GPE, Concordia
Michael Cortese (2019) MEnv Safeguarding Biodiversity Hotspots through Protected Areas in Sub- Saharan Africa   GPE, Concordia
Audréanne Pelletier BSc Honours Effect of physical disability on feeding efficiency in Japanese macaques   GPE, Concordia
Zachary Masson BA Honours Smartphone Ecology: Measuring Plant Stress Using Smartphone Applications Dr. Catherine Calogeropoulos GPE, Concordia
Brogan Stewart BSc Honours Emergence of novel climate regimes across primate species habitat ranges Dr. Damon Matthews GPE, Concordia
Adrienne Kotler BSc Manual disability and provision feeding efficiency in Japanese macaques Dr. Simon Reader Dept. of Biology, McGill
Tanya Graham BSc Honours Assessing the impacts of climate changes on non-human primates Dr. Damon Matthews GPE, Concordia
Current Opportunities in the PIES Lab

I am looking for enthusiastic graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in ecology, conservation and primate behaviour. In particular, I am looking for graduate students who want to conduct field research in primate behavioural ecology. I will be accepting one or two graduate students a year to pursue field-based primatology research. Students with quantitative skills, fieldwork and animal behavior experience are encouraged to apply, and previous training in geography, biology, biological anthropology or environmental science are all appropriate undergraduate backgrounds for research in my lab group. Applicants for graduate studies go through a competitive application process through the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment at Concordia University. If you are interested in the MSc or PhD programs here, and are interested in working with me, please contact me prior to submitting your application to the university. 

I will also be accepting at least one undergraduate honours student each year (GEOG 491). Honours student projects can either involve analysis of previously collected video data on Japanese macaques, research using existing primate datasets (e.g. IUCN data), research projects related to local urban ecology, animal behaviour or biodiversity, or collaborative interdisciplinary projects co-supervised with other GPE faculty. Undergraduate students interested in pursuing honours research should contact me directly for an appointment. 

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