Endocrine Research Laboratory, University of Pretoria, South Africa http://www2.up.ac.za/zoology/old_zoology/staff.php?person=211
Hormonal correlates of dominance structure in meerkats
Although I am interested in a variety of fields such as conservation and general ecology, my main focus lies with the study of the endocrine activity present in different species. Specifically, my work focuses on describing reproductive and stress-related hormone patterns and their effect on an individual’s behavioural, physical and physiological aspects during key life history stages. To do so I utilize non-invasive faecal hormone metabolite monitoring via the appropriate enzyme immunoassays in order to obtain robust, longitudinal hormone patterns of a species. The Kalahari Meerkat Project, in connection with the University of Cambridge, has one of the largest faecal collections in the world, totalling more than 32 000 samples. My focus during my postdoctoral fellowship is the analyses of various samples sets in order to clarify the pattern of gonadal and adrenal hormones and their role in determining important parameters such as dominance structure in the meerkat, Suricata suricatta.