Andrea DiGiorgio

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Andrea DiGiorgio

Matriculated September 2011

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Andrea DiGiorgio graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Psychology, and returned to the University of Hawaii to focus on Biology and Physical Anthropology. She worked as an educator and keeper’s assistant at the Honolulu Zoo with several primate species, and studied howler monkey feeding behavior in Costa Rica.

Andrea started her PhD in Biological Anthropology in the Fall of 2011, with Dr. Cheryl Knott as her advisor. She completed a year in the rainforest of Indonesia studying wild Bornean orangutans from February 2015 to February 2016. Her dissertation focuses on the nutrient drivers of orangutan foraging behavior and how these apes use their habitat to achieve their dietary needs.  This research will test the linear (optimal foraging based) and geometric theories of nutritional ecology in orangutans. In order to complete this work, she learned to climb trees to collect orangutan food samples and process them in the lab at Dr. Knott’s fieldsite. She hopes this research will have an impact on the food and habitat types conserved when concessions are made to preserve patches of primate habitat. Andrea’s broader research interests are in nutrition and feeding behavior, reproductive behavior, non-human primate mechanisms for coping with habitat disturbance, and primate conservation.


National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship

NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant

NSF GK-12 GLACIER Fellowship

Boston University Women’s Guild Graduate Fellowship

Boston University Graduate Research Abroad Fellowship