Rice University
BioSciences at Rice

Amy Dunham

Assistant Professor in BioSciences

BambooLemur_web.jpgMy research program is broadly concerned with tropical community ecology with a focus on identifying mechanisms important for structuring forest communities and dynamics and how such mechanisms can be used to guide conservation management actions. I am particularly interested in the impacts of anthropogenic pressures including defaunation, invasion and habitat fragmentation on species interactions, communities and ecosystem processes. The goal of my work is to provide novel insights for our understanding of how complex communities and ecosystems work and how they might respond to anthropogenic pressures. My work also touches on the evolutionary and behavioral ecology of mammals and birds and has challenged some long standing theories in the field, especially as related to primates. I employ a variety of tools to address these research areas including observation, field experiments, large database manipulations, phylogenetic analyses, and modeling which have allowed me to approach questions from different perspectives and at different scales of organization.

Select Publications

Razafindratsima, O. H, Dunham, A. E. 2015. Assessing the impacts of nonrandom seed dispersal by multiple frugivore partners on plant recruitment. Ecology 96 (1):24–30.

Razafindratsima*, O.H, Dunham, A.E. 2015 Increasing womens participation in community-based conservation: key to success? Madagascar Conservation and Development. 10(2) 45-47. 

Razafindratsima, O. H, Jones, T. A., Dunham, A. E. 2014. Patterns of movement and seed dispersal of three lemur species. American Journal of Primatology. 76 (1):84-96. 

Dunham, A.E., Maitner, B.S., Razafindratsima, O.H., Simmons, M. C., Roy, C. L. 2013. Body size and sexual size dimorphism in primates; influence of climate and net primary productivity. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 26(11): 2312–2320.   

Razafindratsima, O. H., Mehtani, S., Dunham, A.E.  2013. Extinctions, traits, and phylogenetic structure of communities: insights from primate assemblages in Madagascar. Ecography 36: 47-45.

Maitner B.S., Rudgers, J., Dunham, A.E., Whitney, K.  2012. Patterns of bird invasion are consistent with environmental filtering. Ecography 34:1-10.

Van Allen, B., Dunham, A.E., Asquith, C., Rudolf VHW 2012. Life history predicts risk of species decline in a stochastic world. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 10.1098/rspb.2012.0185

Duham, A.E. 2011. Soil disturbance by vertebrates alters seed predation, movement and germination in an African rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology. 27:581-589.

Dunham A. E, Erhart, E. M., Wright, P. C. 2011. Global climate cycles and cyclones; consequences for rainfall patterns and lemur reproduction in southeastern Madagascar. Global Change Biology 17 (1):219-227. 

Dunham, A.E., Mikheyev, A.S. 2010. Influence of an invasive ant on grazing and detrital communities and nutrient fluxes in a tropical forest. Diversity and Distributions. 16 (1): 33-42.

Dunham, A. E., Rudolf, V. H. W. 2009. Evolution of sexual size-monomorphism; the influence of passive mate-guarding.  Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 22(7), 1376-1386. 

Dunham, A. E. 2008. Battle of the sexes: Cost asymmetry explains female dominance in lemurs. Animal Behaviour. 76 (4): 1435-1439    

Dunham, A. E. 2008. Above and below ground impacts of terrestrial mammals and birds in a tropical forest. Oikos. 117 (4), 571-579

Dunham, A. E., Erhart, E., Overdorff, D. Wright, P. C. 2008. Evaluating effects of habitat loss, hunting, and El Nino on a threatened lemur. Biological Conservation. 141:287-297

Shultz, S., A. E. Dunham, K. Root, S. Soucy, S. Carroll, & L. Ginzburg. 1999/02/06/08. Conservation Biology with RAMAS Ecolab. Sinaur Associates, Mass. 251pp.   (Undergraduate text/lab book teaches students quantitative conservation biology and wildlife management)  Latest release in digital form available from Web School of Science.  Click here for reviews. 

Tropical Ecology and Conservation - Amy Dunham Lab

  • B.A. Zoology (1995) Connecticut College
  • Ph.D. Ecology and Evolution (2003) Stony Brook University
  • Department of BioSciences
Research Areas
  • Population and community ecology, conservation biology, evolutionary and behavioral ecology, climate change ecology
Professional Experience
  • Visiting Assistant Professor
    College of William and Mary
    2004-2005
  • Daniel and Sarah Hrdy Fellow of Conservation Biology
    Harvard University
    2005-2006
  • Visiting Scientist
    Smithsonian Institute
    2006-2007
Contact Information
Email: aed4@rice.edu
Phone: 7133482792
Office: Anderson Biology, 103B