I'd like you to meet Meredith Barrett. She's a grad student in Duke's program in ecology with Lemur Center Director Anne Yoder and she's doing some very interesting work on the health of animals that are on the fringes of human encroachment.
You won't be able to meet Meredith in person -- at least not until September -- because she's on the other side of the world right now, doing field work in Madagascar. Her work involves gently trapping and darting lemurs on the forest edge and quickly taking several measures of their health status, including a physical and dental exam, a snip of hair, and yes, fecal material. (They're apparently quite willing to donate that last bit, she says.) Her hypothesis is that animal populations probably suffer from human encroachment even before the humans have actually taken away their habitat. Proving this may help inform policy about how and where to create sanctuaries.
Meredith will be taking us along on her field work and living conditions in this strange and wonderful island through a blog: Lemur Health and Conservation. Connectivity is sure to be a frustration, but as you might have noticed, Meredith is pretty game for tough conditions. She might even be able to post some video. Stay tuned!