Rutgers Faculty

Erin Vogel

Principal Investigator/Project Director
erin vogel

Dr. Erin Vogel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and a member of the Graduate Faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University. Erin received her Ph.D. in 2004 in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Stony Brook University. She has been studying primate behavior and ecology since 1996 and has been studying orangutan behavior and ecology in Indonesia since 2004. Since 1998, she has published over 26 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 5 books chapters in edited volumes, and has received 17 grants from federal and non-federal funding sources. Since 2004, she has been collaborating with UNAS faculty Drs. Utami-Atmoko and Mitra-Setia on several research projects and they have received joint funding from both U.S. federal granting agencies and NGOs. Dr. Vogel's current research involves questions that explore both the proximate and ultimate mechanisms of diet selection and energy acquisition in wild orangutans. She established a long-term research project in 2005 at the Tuanan Research Station in Central Kalimantan focusing on orangutan dietary ecology and cognitive foraging decisions. This project combines field observations with laboratory techniques to examine the relationships between nutrition, gut physiology, food availability, and diet selection. Since 2004, Erin has mentored eleven Indonesian students and ten foreign students at Tuanan. As PI, Dr. Vogel has ultimate responsibility for the administrative, fiscal, and scientific conduct of the research project. She is responsible for communication among all key personnel and project participants, primary communication about the project's impacts, the performance of the award, the distribution of funds from Rutgers University to Indonesian collaborators and students, all external representation and coordination with USAID, and offering technical guidance and input to the institutional partners. Click here to go to Dr. Vogel's page.




Robert Scott

Co-Principal Investigator
Robert Scott

Dr. Robert Scott is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and a member of the Graduate Faculty of Ecology and Evolution at Rutgers University. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from The University of Texas at Austin in 2004. His research program and duties focus on investigations of diet in relation to ecology in human and primate evolution. Rob has published over 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals and three book chapters in edited volumes. He has been very successful in obtaining funding and has received 15 grants since 2000. Dr. Scott has conducted paleoecological fieldwork in Indonesia, China, Turkey, Hungary, and the United States (Montana). He is the co-developer of a new repeatable method for quantifying primate and hominin dental microwear in three dimensions and has reviewed primate diets in this context. This method has provided new insights into the diet of South African early hominins suggesting the importance of fallback food exploitation and was published in the journal Nature. At Rutgers, Dr. Scott has been recognized for outstanding contributions to undergraduate education and teaches the Signature course "Extinction", a critical part of the new School of Arts and Sciences core curriculum. This course focuses on climate change, extinction processes, and conservation. His expertise in these areas in addition to quantitative analyses (Dr. Scott is also responsible for teaching quantitative methods to majors) and ecosystem modeling will greatly contribute to the planned short course in Applied Ecology and Ecosystem Management. Click here to go to Dr. Scott's page.




Wendy Erb

Postdoctoral Fellow/Project Manager
Wendy Erb

Dr. Wendy Erb is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. She has been studying primate behavior and ecology since 2003 and has been conducting research in Indonesia since 2005. Wendy joined the program as Project Manager in January 2013, and began her orangutan research at the Tuanan Research Station in May 2013. Dr. Erb's research focuses broadly on the social and ecological behavior of wild primates, and she is primarily interested in the strategies and signals of reproductive competition. Wendy incorporates behavioral, ecological, and acoustic methods in her research. Dr. Erb is also very interested in biological conservation, and understanding the ways that human activities influence the behavior and ecology of wild primates. As Project Manager, she is responsible for coordinating research, training, and education activities in the field. In particular, she is heavily involved in training UNAS and Rutgers students in both laboratory and field techniques, while coordinating the field courses and project-related activities. Click here to go to Dr. Erb's page.




UNAS Faculty

Sugardjito Soekohardjo

Lead Indonesian Faculty
Jito Sugardjito

Dr. Sugardjito is a Research Supervisor in large mammal ecology and the Director of the Office for International Cooperation at Universitas Nasional Jakarta (UNAS). Before holding this position, he was a Senior Research Scientist at the Indonesian Institute for Sciences (LIPI). Dr. Sugardjito received his Ph.D. n Behavioral Ecology from the University of Utrecht iin 1986. He has been studying primate behavior throughout Indonesia since 1974 on a wide range of primate and other mammalian species. He has worked for several conservation NGOs and is considered a leading expert in the field of primate conservation and behavior in Indonesia. He has served as a member of the editorial board for the International Journal of Primatology and has published over 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Sugardjito is a lead developer of the "Applied Ecology and Ecosystem Management" module of the field course. His connections made during his time working with several NGOs are critical for the success of this course as he can invite several guest lecturers from these groups to expand the focus of the course.




Sri Suci Utami Atmoko

Key Personnel
Sri Suci Utami Atmoko

Dr. Utami Atmoko is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Biology at Universitas Nasional Jakarta (UNAS). She received her Ph.D. in 2000 in Socio-ecology from University of Utrecht. Dr. Utami Atmoko is primatologist who has spent more than 20 years conducting research on orangutan behavior and conservation. Her research is mainly conducted in Ketambe, Leuser National Park in Aceh, Sumatra, and she is also a co-director of the Tuanan Research Station. Her current research focuses on the behavior, ecology, physiology and genetics of orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra. She has published over 35 peer reviewed articles and is considered a leading expert on orangutan behavior and conservation. In addition to her scientific research, Dr. Utami Atmoko has worked as a consultant and/or special advisor for a number of NGOs and government organizations including WWF, USAID, UNESCO, TNC, and BOSF. She supports her conservation efforts by integrating conservation principles with systematically collected field data, monitoring, and awareness training for local NGOs, local communities, local governments and university students, and lecturing in several conservation programs and universities both in Indonesia and abroad. Dr. Utami Atmoko has expertise in fieldwork, film advising (BBC), monitoring and awareness training, adult and non-formal education, and also office management.




Tatang Mitra-Setia

Key Personnel
Tatang Mitra-Setia

Drs. Tatang Mitra-Setia is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Biology at Universitas Nasional Jakarta (UNAS). \He completed his Master's degree in 1995 in Biology from Utrecht University, The Netherlands and will finish his Ph.D. in Ecology in 2014 from the University of Indonesia. He has been studying orangutans for over 20 years in both Sumatra and Borneo. In addition to teaching and advising students at UNAS, he has worked as a contract employee for several NGOs, advising on orangutan conservation issues. Mitra-Setia is a co-manager of the Tuanan Research Station and has been critical in the construction of the facility, mentoring of students, and facilitating foreign research at this station. He has been the liaison to RISTEK for obtaining all permission letters, permits, and visas for all foreign students and researchers since 2003. His research focuses on male social relationships in wild orangutans.




Achi Zulfa

Assistant Project Manager
Achi Zulfa

Achi has been working at Tuanan since 2004, when she conducted research about orangutan nutrition and feeding behavior for her undergraduate thesis at UNAS. After finishing her degree, she followed up this research with a complementary study at the Ketambe Research Station in Aceh from 2006 until 2008. This research was conducted in collaboration with Drs. Erin R. Vogel and Serge Wich for her master's degree at UNAS. Achi returned to Tuanan in 2011 to run the Environmental Education Program initiated by Dr. Erin R. Vogel in the local community. She now works as the Assistant Project Manager for this program, and is primarily responsible for coordinating the visas, research permits, and sample export permits needed to continue our research activities.






Inez Saptenno

Project Coordinator
Achi Zulfa

Inez Saptenno is the Head of the Division of International Cooperation at Universitas Nasional (UNAS), where she manages and develops international cooperation between UNAS and its counterpart universities. Her responsibilities as Project Coordinator include: 1) setting up funding accounts and administrating USAID-related funds, 2) coordinating and overseeing the development of the UNAS Biological Sciences webpage, 3) arranging for journal subscriptions funded through USAID, 4) working together with Dr. Vogel and Dr. Scott to ensure proper management of funds sent to UNAS, and 5) submitting a quarterly financial report to the Project Director.







Rutgers Students

Shauhin Alavi

Doctoral Student
Shauhin Alavi

Shauhin Alavi is a graduate student in Dr. Vogel's lab at Rutgers University. For his PhD, Shauhin is studying cognitive foraging and the role of wild orangutans in nutrient cycling within the peat swamp ecosystem at the Tuanan Research Station. He conducted a pilot study at Tuanan from June through July 2013, during which time he established experimental plots, collected fecal samples from wild orangutans, as well as conducted dozens of seedling growth experiments. Shauhin plans to return to Indonesia in May 2014 to begin collecting data for his dissertation.






Elizabeth Ballare

Doctoral Student
Elizabeth Ballare

Elizabeth Ballare is a graduate student in Dr. Vogel's lab at Rutgers University. For her PhD, Liz is working on projects that involve the health of rehabilitated and released orangutans at BOSF Nyaru Menteng and BOSF Batikap in Central Kalimantan, Borneo. These projects focus on their ability to obtain adequate dietary protein, the ways in which they recycle this protein in their bodies during periods of fruit scarcity, and their physiological responses to stress. In addition, Liz is investigating the differences in immuno-responsiveness by measuring urinary cytokines and is also identifying gastro-intestinal parasites in both the rehabilitated and released populations. Using these biomarkers Liz will conduct a comparative study between the released orangutan population and the wild population at Tuanan studied by Dr. Erin Vogel. Liz conducted a pilot study in July and August, 2014, during which time she collected hundreds of urine samples from rehabilitated and released orangutans at Nyaru Mentent and Batikap. She is currently analyzing these samples at the Laboratory for Primate Dietary Ecology and Physiology at Rutgers University, and plans to return to Indonesia in May 2014 to continue this research.




Timothy Bransford

Doctoral Student
Timothy Bransford

Timothy Bransford is a graduate student in Dr. Vogel's lab at Rutgers University. For his PhD, Tim is studying the energetics of motherhood in wild orangutans at the Tuanan Research Station. He conducted a pilot study from June until August, 2013, during which time he collected hundreds of urine samples from wild orangutans at Tuanan, as well as dozens of orangutan food samples for nutritional analysis. Tim plans to return to Indonesia in May 2014 to begin collecting data for his dissertation.







Alysse Moldawer

Doctoral Student
Timothy Bransford

Alysse is a first-year PhD student in Dr. Vogel's lab at Rutgers University. Prior to coming to Rutgers, she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Vogel at the Tuanan Research Station, collecting orangutan urine as well as dietary and behavioral data; and also volunteered for an environmental education program for children from the neighboring community. Alysse is interested in orangutan physiology and endocrinological responses to social behavior and nutrient availability; as well as understanding people's perceptions of and relationships with orangutans, the environment, and research.






Didik Prasetyo

Doctoral Student
Didik Prasetyo

Didik Prasetyo is a first-year graduate student in Dr. Vogel's lab at Rutgers University. For his dissertation, he is interested in comparing the nest-building behavior of wild and ex-rehabilitated orangutans at the Tuanan research station and the BOSF Batikap orangutan release sites in Central Kalimantan, Borneo. Didik plans to conduct his pilot research in May 2014.







UNAS Students

Sofiah Rohmat

Master's Student
Sofi - S2

Project title: Local ethnobotany of the Dayak Ngaju Tribe at Katunjung Village, Mentangai Subdistrict, Kapuas Regency, Central Kalimantan

Sofiah Rohmat will begin her master's research in the Katunjung Village in the Mawas Conservation Area in December, 2013. Her research will focus primarily on interviews of local people to understand their relationships with and uses for the native plants in the area.






Fajar Saputra

Master's Student
Fajar - S2

Project title: Orangutan food competition at Tuanan Research Station, Central Kalimantan

Fajar Saputra began his research for his master's degree in August, 2013. He is monitoring fruiting trees throughout the Tuanan study area, as well as conducting full-day follows of orangutans to collect feeding data. During his graduate studies, Fajar is also one of the operational managers at Camp Tuanan, and he works closely with local stakeholders in developing sustainable management strategies for the Mawas Conservation Area.






Iman Sapari

Master's Student
Iman - 2

Project title: Assessing areas upstream from Belantikan, Central Kalimantan, as protection zones for bulls and orangutans)

Iman Sapari will begin research for his master's degree in the far western region of Central Kalimantan in December, 2013. He will survey several areas in Belantikan region to monitor populations of endangered wild bulls and orangutans. Iman is interested in understanding the effects of logging on these native fauna. 






Agnes Yuliana

Master's Student
Angga - S1

Project title: Antimicrobial endophytic fungi as potential of some plant feed orangutan

Agnes Yuliana plans to begin her master's degree research at Tuanan in 2014. Although most of her research will take place in the laboratory at UNAS, she will spend a short time at Tuanan collecting biological samples.






Tenno Hendras

Undergraduate Student
Tenno

Project title: Potential resource from Mawas Area as conservation effort

Tenno Hendras conducted interviews with local people and biological surveys from June until September, 2013. His research goal was to identify the natural and human resources as well as existing conflicts for conservation in 6 villages within the Mawas Conservation Area. He is currently writing his thesis and hopes to complete his S1 degree this semester.






Molly Injani

Undergraduate Student
molly - S2

Project Title: Long calling and energetics in adult male Bornean orangutans Molly Injani will begin her research at the Tuanan Research Station in February 2014. She will collect behavioral, nutritional, and ecological data on wild orangutans and their foods in order to understand the relationship between food availability, energy intake, and long calling rates in adult male orangutans.






Angga Prasetya

Undergraduate Student
Angga - S1

Project title:Biodiversity of amphibians and reptiles at Mawas-BOSF Conservation Area, Central Kalimantan

Angga Prasetya conducted biological surveys from June until September, 2013 to document the biodiversity of reptiles and amphibians within the Mawas Conservation Area. He is currently writing his thesis and hopes to complete his S1 degree this semester.






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