Emma Cancelliere

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

New York, Graduate Center, City U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9399

Approve Date

April 18, 2017

Project Title

Cancelliere, Emma, City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Variability in Nutritional Ontogeny in the Mountain Gorilla, Gorilla beringei,' supervised by Dr. Jessica Rothman

Preliminary abstract: An individual’s ecological environment plays a central role in shaping their life history trajectory. Of the external factors that contribute to variation in life history, one of the most important factors is the nutritional composition of the diet. An individual requires specific nutrients for growth, reproduction, and maintenance. These nutritional requirements are dynamic, changing in response to shifting needs and priorities depending on developmental or life history stage. One of the most interesting periods of dietary change is that between infancy and juvenility, in which an individual transitions from reliance on mothers’ milk to a solid food diet. Understanding the nutritional underpinnings of this transition is critical, as observed diet may not be reflective of nutrients available to the individual in these early developmental stages. The main objective of this study is to understand the nutritional transition from infancy to juvenility in the most folivorous hominoid species, Gorilla beringei. In doing so, I will explore the complex relationship between nutritional landscape, life history trajectory, and developmental constraints in shaping the nutritional ontogeny of hominoids. This project will characterize the early diet of Gorilla beringei to define the feeding ontogeny and weaning trajectory in relation to physiological maturation and ability to digest a unique folivorous diet, and evaluate these data using a new innovative geometric framework to explore whether nutritional priorities shift in relation to age and stage of development.