Christine M. Drea
Earl D. McLean Professor
I have two broad research interests, sexual differentiation and social behavior, both focused on hyenas and primates. I am particularly interested in unusual species in which the females display a suite of masculinized characteristics, including male- like or exaggerated external genitalia and social dominance. The study of naturally occurring hormones in such unique mammals can reveal general processes of hormonal activity, expressed in genital morphology, reproductive development, and social behavior. Taking a combined laboratory and field approach allows me to relate captive data to various facets of the animals' natural habitat, thereby enhancing the ecological validity of assay procedures and enriching interpretation in an evolutionary framework. The goal of comparative studies of hyenas and lemurs is to help elucidate the mechanisms of mammalian sexual differentiation.
My research program in social behavior focuses on social learning and group cohesion. Using naturalistic tasks that I present to captive animals in socially relevant contexts, I can investigate how social interaction modulates behavior, problem- solving, and cognitive performance. By studying and comparing models of carnivore and primate foraging, I can better understand how group-living animals modify their actions to meet environmental demands. A primary interest is determining whether similar factors, related to having a complex social organization, influence learning and performance across taxonomic groups. I am also interested in how animals learn rules of social conduct and maintain social cohesion, as evidenced by their patterns of behavioral developmental, the intricate balance between aggression and play, the expression of scent marking, and the social facilitation or inhibition of behavior.
Leclaire, S, Nielsen, JF, and Drea, CM. "Bacterial communities in meerkat anal scent secretions vary with host sex, age, and group membership." Behavioral Ecology 25.4 (July 1, 2014): 996-1004. Full Text
Kulahci, IG, Drea, CM, Rubenstein, DI, and Ghazanfar, AA. "Individual recognition through olfactory-auditory matching in lemurs." Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society 281.1784 (June 7, 2014): 20140071-. Full Text
Kulahci, IG, Drea, CM, Rubenstein, DI, and Ghazanfar, AA. "Individual recognition through olfactory-auditory matching in lemurs." Proceedings. Biological Sciences 281.1784 (June 2014): 20140071-null. Full Text
Greene, LK, and Drea, CM. "Love is in the air: sociality and pair bondedness influence sifaka reproductive signalling." Animal Behaviour 88 (February 2014): 147-156. Full Text Open Access Copy
Cunha, GR, Risbridger, G, Wang, H, Place, NJ, Grumbach, M, Cunha, TJ, Weldele, M, Conley, AJ, Barcellos, D, Agarwal, S, Bhargava, A, Drea, C, Hammond, GL, Siiteri, P, Coscia, EM, McPhaul, MJ, Baskin, LS, and Glickman, SE. "Development of the external genitalia: perspectives from the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta)." Differentiation; research in biological diversity 87.1-2 (January 2014): 4-22. (Review) Full Text
Cunha, GR, Risbridger, G, Wang, H, Place, NJ, Grumbach, M, Cunha, TJ, Weldele, M, Conley, AJ, Barcellos, D, Agarwal, S, Bhargava, A, Drea, C, Hammond, GL, Siiteri, P, Coscia, EM, McPhaul, MJ, Baskin, LS, and Glickman, SE. "Development of the external genitalia: Perspectives from the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta)." Differentiation 87.1-2 (January 2014): 4-22. Full Text
Delbarco-Trillo, J, Harelimana, IH, Goodwin, TE, and Drea, CM. "Chemical differences between voided and bladder urine in the aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis): implications for olfactory communication studies." Am J Primatol 75.7 (July 2013): 695-702. Full Text
Drea, CM, Boulet, M, Delbarco-Trillo, J, Greene, LK, Sacha, CR, Goodwin, TE, and Dubay, GR. "The "secret" in secretions: methodological considerations in deciphering primate olfactory communication." Am J Primatol 75.7 (July 2013): 621-642. (Review) Full Text
Charpentier, MJE, Mboumba, S, Ditsoga, C, and Drea, CM. "Nasopalatine ducts and flehmen behavior in the mandrill: reevaluating olfactory communication in Old World primates." American Journal of Primatology 75.7 (July 2013): 703-714. Full Text
Charpentier, MJE, and Drea, CM. "Victims of infanticide and conspecific bite wounding in a female-dominant primate: a long-term study." Plos One 8.12 (January 2013): e82830-null. Full Text Open Access Copy