African Graduate Student Research Fund

Chair

Members

  • Risky Agwanda (Kenya)
  • Jesse Alston
  • Bruce Buttler
  • Adam W. Ferguson
  • Jacob R. Goheen
  • Anne-Marie C. Hodge
  • Prince Kaleme (DRC)
  • Monica Lasky
  • Alicia V. Linzey
  • Molly M. McDonough
  • Patricia D. Moehlman
  • Ryan W. Norris
  • Safian Rabiu (Nigeria)
  • Chloé W. Rodriques (Canada)
  • Robert K. Rose
  • Duane A. Schlitter
  • Matt Snider
  • Sydney R. Stephens

History and Mission

The African Graduate Student Research Fund committee was formed in 2013 as an ad hoc committee and was promoted to a standing committee in 2016. Its mission is to support the next generation of African mammalogists by awarding individual grants of $1,500 and an online ASM membership to African nationals pursuing graduate degrees. Between 2014 and 2018, 2-3 awards were granted annually; in 2019, 4 proposals were funded, and in 2020 this number increased to 5. The increase in the number of recent awards reflects several generous donations—please consider contributing! The next deadline for applications is 1 April 2021.

2020 Award Winners

In 2020 24 applications from citizens of 12 African countries enrolled in 20 institutions spanning 15 countries and three continents were submitted. The American Society of Mammalogists congratulates this year’s successful applicants and those receiving honorable mention, wishes them the best of luck with their research, and looks forward to learning of their results!

Valorian Douatsop is a master's student in Ecology and Wildlife Management at the University of Dschang (Cameroon) studying the ecology of Africa’s most elusive cat species, the African golden cat. Specifically, he is investigating the primary direct and indirect threats leading to the decline of the species using rapid camera-trap surveys. He will also survey bushmeat markets and illegal local wildlife trading hubs to better understand the magnitude of the role of indiscriminate snaring on African golden cat populations. Valorian will use funds from his award to pay for travel and accommodation to and from his field sites. Results from his work will provide the first baseline data on African golden cats in Cameroon, including estimates of abundance/density and occupancy. Results will enable the establishment of a database of prices in key consumer markets to understand demand demographics and attitudes and to inform the development of improved demand-reduction strategies.

Charles Emogor is a PhD student in Zoology at the University of Cambridge studying the ecology and status of the white-bellied pangolin. He combines social and ecological methods to understand human pressures on the world’s most trafficked wild mammal and provide useful insights into their ecology which is currently limited. Facets of his research which is mainly conducted in and around Nigeria’s Cross River National Park include, characterisation of Nigeria’s role in the global illegal pangolin trade, characterisation of local consumption and demand, quantification of pangolin offtake and understanding the ranging behaviour of the white-bellied pangolin. Charles is also collaborating with the Centre for Conservation Biology (University of Washington) to develop a genetic database for identifying the geographic origin of seized pangolin materials which will better inform law enforcement activities. Charles’ work which is supervised by Professor Andrew Balmford and funded by the Gates Cambridge Trust will undoubtedly provide badly needed information for evidence-based pangolin conservation in Nigeria. 

Clinton Factheu is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Animal Biology and Physiology at the University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon). His project focuses on the use of passive acoustics to assess the impact of the giant salvinia on the African manatee’s habitat use in Lake Ossa. Giant salvinia is an exotic, free-floating aquatic fern that has invaded approximately 25% of the lake, which is considered a manatee sanctuary in Cameroon. Clinton deploys hydrophones in the lake to compare the African manatee’s occurrence patterns in invaded versus non-invaded areas. Results of his project will help direct manatee conservation efforts in the Lake Ossa Wildlife Reserve.

 

 

Zabibu Kabalika is pursuing a Ph.D. in movement ecology in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow (United Kingdom). Movement forms a fundamental aspect of life of every living organism, and understanding extents and patterns of movement is key to most biological questions. However, its quantification across individuals and populations has always remained methodologically challenging, especially in retrospective situations where live animals can no longer be tracked. Zabibu is using stable-isotope signatures in tail hair to study movement patterns of African ungulates across protected areas in her home country of Tanzania in order to better understand connectivity and its stability since colonial times.

 

Aristide Sock Bell, Jr., is a Ph.D. student in Zoology at the Faculty of Science of the University of Douala (Cameroon) investigating the relationship between urbanization and bat population structure in the littoral region of Cameroon, with an emphasis on conservation and public health. His fieldwork includes collecting haemoparasites and ectoparasites from bats mistnetted in urban, peri-urban, and the Ebo Forest (a proposed National Park). ASM funding will support Aristide’s travel to and from study sites, personnel costs, and and the purchase of supplies. The results of his research will have broad implications for conservation, ecology, and local public health. 

2020 Honorable Mention

Two additional applicants are recognized for their outstanding proposals that ASM was nonetheless unable to support due to insufficient funding (please help by donating here!). Ashleigh Donaldson (University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) is studying thermoregulation and water conservation mechanisms in lions for her Ph.D. and Boris Otchika (Masuku University of Science and Technology, Gabon) is investigating the relative contribution of duikers to the overall biomass of Central African forests for his Ph.D.

 

2010-2019

2020+