As Zoological Manager, Great Apes, at the Saint Louis Zoo I am very fortunate to know and work with a fantastic collection of gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees. My research interests are focused on the behavioral expressions of hemispheric asymmetry and laterality, mainly handedness and eye preference. Many views of behavioral laterality, including handedness, have postulated that population-level right handedness is a uniquely human trait, but recent research has shown many lateralized traits to be present at the population level. Following up on my doctoral research I am also interested on the effects of emotion on behavioral laterality. For example, some apes view emotionally relevant objects with their non-dominant eye.
In addition, I am interested in the captive care and management of great apes. Currently the Jungle of the Apes staff and I are performing behavioral observations on our bachelor gorilla group to better understand their relationships and interactions. Since adding two new members to our bachelor group we are interested to see if play increases and how their bonds develop. We also observe our chimpanzee troop for many of the same reasons, to aid in understanding their complex relationships and how they relate to breeding and sexual swellings. Lastly, we keep a watchful eye on our orangutans to best monitor the mother-offspring interactions and how the females relate to our somewhat new male.