Research Title: 
Sex and the origin of species in mouse lemurs: sexual selection and SMRS

HAJARIMANITRA RAMBELOARIVONY (MSc) is a Malagasy PhD student at the Zoology Department, University of Fort Hare, South Africa, under the supervision of Dr Fabien Génin and Prof Judith Masters, and funded by the National Research Foundation, South Africa. He spent his early university years at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), University of Antananarivo, where he got his Natural Science high school teacher degree (CAPEN) in 2005. He discovered the wonder of nature, especially lemurs, while doing his field work on ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) feeding behaviours at Berenty Private Reserve, Madagascar, for his CAPEN dissertation. Soon after his graduation at the ENS, he investigated the case of alopecia in ring-tailed lemur at Berenty Reserve with a Malagasy colleague for 8 months. Their conclusion was that some troops of ring-tailed lemurs at Berenty lose their fur because of a toxine called “mimosine” that the animal got from feeding on an introduced plant species called Leucaena leucocephala. In 2006, the owner of Berenty Reserve hired him as a forest manager for 2 years. His priority tasks were to eradicate Leucaena in the forest and to remove the invasive plant species which were killing and taking over the forest. In 2008, he got a Rio Tinto Malagasy Scholarship and went to UK for his Masters on Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University. The topic of his masters was the costs and benefits of Lemur catta behavioural flexibility. After he finished his Masters, he started his PhD on mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus and M. griseorufus). His PhD research interests are (1) mouse lemur reproductive behaviours, (2) mouse lemur communicative behaviours, (3) specific mate recognition system (SRMS) and vocalization, (4) species boundary and SMRS, and (5) choice in sexual selection versus recognition in the Recognition Concept.

Apart from his academic works, he is a member of the International Primatological Society since 2006. He won the American Society of Primatologists Conservation Award in 2007, and the Oxford Brookes Graduate School Poster competition in 2009. He appeared also in a BBC emission explaining the “Mystery of the bald lemur” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00dwpdr) and an emission of TV Zone Australe, Réunion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNZ8M24XAR4). His main hobbies are bird watching and photography.

Works in progress: He is now writing his PhD dissertation “Sex and the origin of species in mouse lemurs: sexual selection and SMRS”.

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