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Indiana University Bloomington
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Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences
One Discipline, Four Fields

Michael D. Wasserman


Assistant Professor, Anthropology Department & Human Biology Program, Anthropology Department


(812) (812) 855-7736 | Email | Office Hours

  • Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2004-11
  • B.S., B.A. University of Florida, 1998-2002

Geographical Areas of Specialization: Uganda, Costa Rica, Panama

Topical Interests: primate ecology & evolution, environmental endocrinology, conservation biology & sustainability, evolutionary medicine & EcoHealth, nutritional anthropology


Currently, I am assistant professor of Anthropology and Human Biology at Indiana University Bloomington.  I am developing the Primate Environmental Endocrinology Lab (PEEL) on campus, so if you are interested in joining my lab, either as a graduate student or undergraduate researcher, please send me an email with a brief statement outlining your research interests, your CV, and a copy of your transcript.

From 2013-2016, I was assistant professor of Environmental Science and Policy at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.  Prior to that, I was a Tomlinson postdoctoral research fellow and instructor in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University from 2011-2013.  I received my PhD from the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011.  My undergraduate degrees are in Anthropology (BA) and Zoology (BS) from the University of Florida.

My research interests include primate ecology and evolution, environmental endocrinology, nutritional anthropology, evolutionary medicine, and conservation and sustainability.  I am currently examining ecological and evolutionary relationships between wild primates and their estrogenic plant foods, with relevance to understanding the roles of endocrine disruptors in primate conservation, human evolution, and modern human health and diet.

My Primate Environmental Endocrinology Lab explores how global environmental change through climate disruption, endocrine disruption, and biodiversity loss affect non-human primates across the tropics. Specifically, our lab examines the prevalence of steroidal chemicals in the wild plant foods of primates and how these chemicals, along with a number of other ecological and anthropogenic factors, influence endocrine systems, behaviors, and populations of various primate species. Graduate students will be expected to develop their own dissertation projects related to these general themes and work with undergraduate students and international collaborators in both the lab and field. Potential field sites are open to discussion.

If you are interested in joining the lab, please email me at

Selected Publications

2015Gogarten JF, Jacob AL, Ghai RR, Rothman JM, Twinomugisha D, Wasserman MD, and Chapman CA. Causes and consequences of changing group sizes in a primate community over 15+ years. Biotropica 47: 101-112.

2014 Gogarten, J.F, T.R. Bonnell, L.M. Brown, M. Campenni, M.D. Wasserman, and C.A. Chapman. Increasing group size alters behavior of a folivorous primate. International Journal of Primatology 35: 590-608.

2014 Twinomugisha, D., M.D. Wasserman, and C.A. Chapman. Deriving conservation status for a high altitude population: Golden monkeys of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda. In: N.B. Grow, S. Gursky-Doyen, and A. Krzton (Eds.). High Altitude Primates. Springer Press, New York, pp. 227-243.

2013Wasserman, M.D., K. Milton, and C.A. Chapman. The roles of phytoestrogens in primate ecology and evolution. International Journal of Primatology 34: 861-878.

2013Wasserman, M.D., C.A. Chapman, K. Milton, T.L. Goldberg, and T.E. Ziegler. Physiological and behavioral effects of capture darting on red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus) with a comparison to chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) predation. International Journal of Primatology 34: 1020-1031.

2013Bonnell, T., M. Campennì, C.A. Chapman, J.F. Gogarten, R.A. Reyna-Hurtado, J.A. Teichroeb,M.D. Wasserman, and R. Sengupta. Emergent group level navigation: an agent-based evaluation of movement patterns in a folivorous primate. PLOS ONE 8: e78264

2013Chapman, C.A., T.R. Bonnell, J.F. Gogarten, J.E. Lambert, P.A. Omeja, D. Twinomugisha, M.D.Wasserman, and J.M. Rothman. Are primates ecosystem engineers? International Journal of Primatology 34: 1-14.

2013Marsh, L.K., C.A. Chapman, V. Arroyo-Rodriguez, A.K. Cobden, J.C.Dunn, D. Gabriel, R.R. Ghai, R. Reyna-Hurtado, J.C. Serio-Silva, and M.D. Wasserman. Primates in fragments 10 years later: Once and future goals. In: L.K. Marsh & C.A. Chapman (Eds.).  Primates in Fragments: Complexity and Resilience.  Springer Press.

2013Chapman, C.A., R.R. Ghai, R. Reyna-Hurtado, A.L. Jacob, S.M. Koojo, J.M. Rothman, D. Twinomugisha, M.D. Wasserman, and T.L. Goldberg.  Going, going, gone: A 15-year history of the decline in abundance of primates in forest fragments.  In: L.K. Marsh & C.A. Chapman (Eds.).  Primates in Fragments: Complexity and Resilience. Springer Press.

2012Wasserman, M.D., C.A. Chapman, K. Milton, J.F. Gogarten, D.J. Wittwer, and T.E. Ziegler. Estrogenic plant consumption predicts red colobus monkey (Procolobus rufomitratus) hormonal state and behavior. Hormones and Behavior 62: 553-562.

2012 Wasserman, M.D., A. Taylor-Gutt, J.M. Rothman, C.A. Chapman, K. Milton, and D.C. Leitman.  Estrogenic plant foods of red colobus monkeys and mountain gorillas in Uganda. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 148: 88-97.

2008 Rothman, J.M., C.A. Chapman, D. Twinomugisha, M.D. Wasserman, J.E. Lambert, and T.L. Goldberg. Measuring physical traits of primates remotely: the use of parallel lasers. American Journal of Primatology 70: 1191-1195.

2008 Snaith,T.V., C.A. Chapman, J.M. Rothman, and M.D. Wasserman. Bigger groups have fewer parasites and similar cortisol levels: a multi-group analysis in red colobus monkeys. American Journal of Primatology 70: 1072-1080.

2007 Chapman, C.A., L. Naughton-Treves, M.J. Lawes, M.D. Wasserman, and T.R. Gillespie. Population declines of colobus in western Uganda and conservation value of forest fragments. International Journal of Primatology 28: 513-528.

2006 Chapman, C.A., M.D. Wasserman, T.R. Gillespie, M.L. Speirs, M.J. Lawes, T.L. Saj, and T.E. Ziegler.   Do nutrition, parasitism, and stress have synergistic effects on red colobus populations living in forest fragments? American Journal of Physical Anthropology 131: 525-534.

2006 Chapman, C.A., M.D. Wasserman, and T.R. Gillespie. Behavioural patterns of colobus in logged and unlogged forests:  The conservation value of harvested forests.  In: E. Newton-Fisher, H. Notman, V. Reynolds, J.D. Patterson (eds.).  Primates of Western Uganda. Pp. 373-390. Springer, New York.

2005 Chapman, C.A., T. Webb, R. Fronstin, M.D. Wasserman, and A.M. Santamaria. Assessing dietary protein of colobus monkeys through fecal sample analysis: A tool to evaluate habitat quality. African Journal of Ecology 43: 276-278.

2003 Wasserman, M.D., and Chapman, C.A. Determinants of colobine monkey abundance: The    importance of food energy, protein and fiber content.   Journal of Animal Ecology 72: 650-659.