Amanda Johnston

Ph.D. in progress
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AmandaResearch Interests

I am interested in population genomics and ecology, and their broader applications to conservation. For my dissertation, I plan to study a population of golden monkeys (Cercopithecus kandti) in Gishwati National Forest Reserve in Rwanda. Golden monkeys are an endangered species of guenon that occur in only three locations in central Africa. The Gishwati population resides in an isolated forest fragment and requires further research to optimize conservation efforts. Toward this goal, I will use fecal DNA to determine the level of inbreeding in the population and behavioral observations to estimate the population size and structure, and to describe the general behavior and feeding ecology of the Gishwati population. Unlike the other two golden monkey populations, which live in forests dominated by bamboo, the Gishwati golden monkeys live in largely secondary growth forest more similar to habitats of other forest guenons
. I also hope to use fecal DNA to identify whether hybridization occurred between the golden monkeys in Gishwati and the closely related blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis) of Nyungwe Forest Reserve to the south, which was once connected to Gishwati forest.