Christine Drea's Research Lab

Research Overview

The Drea lab members study aspects of mammalian social behavior and reproductive behavior focused on exceptional carnivores and primates. In these unusual species, the females display a suite of masculinized characteristics including male-like or exaggerated external genitalia and social dominance. Of primary concern are the physiological and behavioral correlates of reproductive and social development, with a focus on mechanisms of sexual differentiation. Through a combined laboratory and field approach, Drea lab members investigate topics such as reproductive and socio-endocrinology, genital and developmental morphology, and social behavior (particularly aggression, play, and scent marking in both sexes). We seek to better understand the evolution of female social dominance and the mechanisms of mammalian sexual differentiation.

Current projects include:

-Neuroendocrine and behavioral mechanisms of female dominance and reproductive skew in wild meerkats

-Comparative studies on the composition of chemical signals

-The genetic diversity of several immune function genes in ring-tailed lemurs

-Olfactory communication in Propithecus coquereli

-Behavior and neuroendrocrinology in several species of Eulemur

Scroll through the photos below to see the animals studied in the Drea Lab.

    • catta on tree
    • Photo Credit: Marylene Boulet
    • img 4159
    • Photo Credit: Javier delBarco-Trillo
    • Emf female
    • Photo Credit: David Haring
    • Sifaka
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • spotted hyena
    • Photo Credit: Christine Drea
    • Catta line
    • Photo Credit: Marylene Boulet
    • Blue-eyed Emf
    • Catta sitting
    • Photo Credit: Photo by Marie Charpentier
    • Meerkat colony
    • Photo Credit: Christine Drea
    • Prop
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • Ring-tailed lemur Scent Mark
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • kody close
    • Photo Credit: Christine Drea
    • Sifakas
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • Ring-tailed lemur babies
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • Eulemur
    • Photo Credit: Lydia Greene
    • Meerkats
    • Photo Credit: Javier delBarco-Trillo
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Photos by Marylene Boulet, Marie Charpentier, Jeremy Crawford, Javi delBarco-Trillo, Lydia Greene, and David Haring.
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    • Photo Credit: Drea Lab

Drea Lab Exciting News!


- Lydia gave a presentation for the Duke Lemur Center's Evening with the Experts talk series

  - Kendra presented her research on testosterone and immunocompetence in meerkats at NSF's Ecoimmunology RCN meeting in Woods Hole, MA. 


- Congratulations to Christine Adams for successfully defending her Honors Thesis!

- Welcome back from the KMP Dimitri.

- Dana & Christine Drea travel to the KMP to hang out with the meerkats.

- Congratulations to Lydia Greene!  She will be an Duke Ecology PhD student in the Drea lab next year.

- Katie & Christine presented at the AAPA 2014 conference in Calgary, CA.


- Kendra passed her prelims!

- Dana Pfefferle, our new postdoc, arrives.  Welcome to the lab Dana.

- Lydia and Christine's newest publication was featured on NSF's homepage!  Lemur lovers sync their scents. And with a video!

- More press for lemur lovers.

- New Publication: Greene, L.K. & Drea, C.M. (2014). Love is in the air: sociality and pair bondedness influence sifaka reproductive signalling. Animal Behaviour 88: 147-156.

- Check out the press for our new publication! It's near Valentine's day and lemur love is in the air.  In fact, Lemurs in Love Start to Smell Alike.


- Lydia returns from the field, bringing funny tales and valuable samples.

- Kendra presents her research on meerkat parasitology at the SICB annual meeting in Austin, TX.


- New Publication: Charpentier, M.J.E. & Drea, C.M. (2013). Victims of infanticide and conspecific bite wounding in a female-dominant primate: a long-term study. PLoS ONE.

- Check out the press for our new publication!

For more Drea lab news, click here!


    • Dr. Christine Drea