Amanda Melin, Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair; PhD, MA, BScPostdoc, Ecology and Evolution, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire
PhD, Anthropology (Biological Anthropology), University of Calgary, Calgary, AB
MA, Anthropology (Primatology), University of Calgary, Calgary, AB
BSc with Distinction, Biological Sciences (Zoology), University of Calgary, Calgary, AB
Areas of Research
We study how primates use their senses to find and select foods as a critical part of their foraging ecology. Data collection includes behavioural observation of wild primates and measurement of fruit traits
Senses are our interface with the external world. We study the genes underlying sensory systems to better understand the evolution and function of senses. Data collection includes molecular methods in genetics and genomics and bioinformatics. Students should have at least introductory training in each area.
Eyesight is used throughout modern life, and large resources are leveraged to mitigate eye diseases. We integrate transcriptomic, metabolomic, and genomic data with corresponding measures of ocular health (ophthalmological exams, including optical coherence tomography) and visual function (behavioural looking time experiments) in free-ranging rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, to investigate impacts of age and genomic background on glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, retinal detachment, other eye diseases and aging processes. We also study the ocular microbiome, proteome, and metabolome to understand molecular consequences of aging and diseases phenotypes to better understand the disease process.
We study ecological, biological and social drivers in variation of how primates age, and the impacts of aging at behavioural and molecular levels. Approaches include study of wild primates, and study of molecular signatures of aging (e.g. DNA methylation).
Working with this supervisor
My primary interest is in accepting students asking questions with a strong theoretical basis that inform our understanding evolution, adaptation and health. Areas of research focus may include sensory ecology, foraging ecology, molecular assessment of sensory disease, and aging processes. Students may include one or more approaches from behavioural ecology, field primatology, genetics and genomics.
While these projects can have conservation aspects and implications, if the primary area of interest is conservation, another program or supervisor may be more appropriate.