Notes from the Field: Melia Markham


Melia Markham outdoor hiking photo

Conservation Related Experience: So far, my direct conservation experience has been with the classes I’ve taken at UW; Ecology 460 over the summer gave me lots of field time working with invasive species and plant identification in multiple habitats, and Introduction to Primatological Research had me in the zoo collecting behavioral data nearly every week. However, starting this summer after graduation I have the incredible opportunity to move to South Africa and help start up a new field site for Professor McFarland, working to habituate a group of chacma baboons for studies on behavioral ecology and physiology. I’m super excited to see what ways I can tie conservation into my work!

Connection to Conservation Biology: Something that I really want to study in the future is how diseases that can zoonotically transfer between primates and people are impacting primate conservation efforts in tropical regions. I think it’s really important to promote locally-led conservation organizations because I believe the people who can support the land best are the ones who understand it the most deeply, and part of promoting that is understanding the complex interactions that primates and people have globally that may inhibit conservation efforts. Having worked in a lab setting as a member of the enrichment staff at Harlow Primate Lab, I am incredibly excited to get out into the field and start being able to do hands on conservation work wherever I find it.