Pet Trade of Lemurs in Madagascar
Kim first became interested in studying the in-country ownership of pet lemurs in Madagascar in 2013, while collecting data on the bushmeat trade. The resulting paper - published in Oryx - estimated that 28,000 lemurs had been held captive between 2010 and mid-2013 (based on over 1,000 informant interviews). Kim continues her research on pet lemurs via a collaborative project with Melissa Schaefer (University of Utah), harnessing the power of citizen science to collect data from people across the world.
Bushmeat Consumption and Trade of Mammals in Madagascar
Kim has studied the consumption and trade of mammals in Madagascar since 2013. She has conducted almost 2,000 interviews with meat sellers, transporters, and households to understand how bushmeat moves the country and why. Reports/manuscripts of this research can be found here.
Natural Resource Use & National Park Management
As part of her dissertation, Kim has examined how socioeconomic variables impact the use of natural resources around the perimeter of a national park in Madagascar, using over 350 informant interviews. She has also examined how the participation of various stakeholders impacts governance of the park, and will use these data to suggest management and policy changes that could improve the park's success. Publications on this research are forthcoming.
This research has been funded by the American Society of Primatologists Small Grant and the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to KER; the Explorers Club Youth Activity Fund to Shane Nieves and KER; Philadelphia LSAMP to Andrea Gudiel.
Healthcare and education issues in Sub-Saharan Africa
Since 2010 Kim has collaborated with several other researchers and development professionals to undertake data collection projects in the African countries of Equatorial Guinea (EG) and Madagascar. The purpose of these initiatives are to decrease the paucity of healthcare and education data in these regions. Past research projects have included: an assessment of mental health services in EG; assessment of the primary healthcare system in EG; a review of the education system in Madagascar; issues facing STEM students and teachers in Madagascar; and the sexual health of university students in Madagascar (reports/manuscripts can be found here). These projects were completed in collaboration with/assistance from Dr. Melissa Schaefer (University of Utah), Abigail Wills M.Sc., Dr. Peter Reuter (Florida Gulf Coast University), Lynne Venart, Haley Gilles, Andrea Gudiel, and Bryan Hessert.
Other scientific endeavors
Evolution of Zoanthids
Since 2009, Kim has worked together with Dr. Tim Swain as a translator of early German taxonomic documents (dating back to the 1850′s), in hopes to elicit new information about the evolution of Zoanthids. The resulting analysis and work will be published in review papers which will bring to light new information about the evolution of the morphology, symbioses, and form of Zoanthids.
Marine Invertebrate Fertilization
In the past, Kim has lead or assisted in four different marine invertebrate fertilization studies. As an independent researcher (advised by Dr. Don R. Levitan), she studied external spawning cues in the sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus and found novel results indicating the order and magnitude of cues necessary to initiate a synchronized spawning event. These results, helped clarify how dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of individuals synchronize gamete release to occur at precisely the correct time frame to ensure successful fertilization.
In addition, she lead a study to assess the affect of ocean acidification on the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus franciscanus. Along with four other scientists (from marine invertebrate and ocean acidification disciplines), they were able to produce novel data on the negative effects of ocean acidification on fertilization in broadcast spawning marine invertebrates. This novel research was published in the peer-reviewed Global Change Biology.
Finally, she assisted as a laboratory assistant on a novel study by Dr. Don Levitan on sexual selection at the gamete level in sea urchins, and as a molecular laboratory assistant in a study on coral reef reproduction.
Pitcher Plant Nectar Production
Under the direction of Dr. Thomas Miller, she undertook an independent research project which analyzed the timing and quantity of nectar production in Sarracenia pitcher plants. The data was used in an attempt to correlate the production of nectar with prey catch in these carnivorous plants.