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Principal Investigator

The Great Ape Behaviour (GAB) Lab investigates the behavioural flexibility of wild great apes as they navigate their complex social and ecological environments, with a focus on variation in communication and culture. The GAB Lab joins the University of Victoria's Department of Anthropology in Fall 2021. The GAB Lab collaborates closely with the PhASE Research Group at UVic, the PanAf Programme based in Leipzig, Germany and its citizen science project Chimp&See. We are also fortunate enough to have longstanding working collaborations with multiple great ape field sites in Africa.

Robyn Nakano

PhD Student 2023-present 
MA graduate (2021-2023)

I am a PhD student working under the supervision of Dr. Ammie Kalan in the Great Ape Behaviour Lab. I received my Bachelor of Arts and Science from McGill University in 2021 with major concentrations in biology and anthropology and a particular focus on archaeology. I joined the GAB lab in 2021 to conduct my MA research on chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing (AST), where I took a landscape approach to study accumulative stone throwing from an archaeological perspective. In my PhD, I will be continuing this work with particular focus on the behaviour's purpose and material culture. Through analysis of its behavioural context and evaluation of the perishable (tree) and non-perishable (rock) components of the behaviour, I hope to shed light on the transmission of this rare behaviour, and permit comparison between the material culture of AST, other non-human stone tool use behaviours, and the hominin archaeological record.


Lindsey Warshawski

Masters Student 2021-2023

I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Anthropology (Honours) from the University of Victoria in 2021. Currently, I am a master’s student working under the supervision of Dr. Ammie Kalan. I am interested in the evolution of, and flexibility in, primate social behaviour. My thesis focuses on social and ecological factors of chimpanzee communication. Specifically, I am investigating vocalizations pertaining to foraging and feeding behaviours of the Rekambo community of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) in Loango National Park, Gabon.

Miranda Gilbert

 BSc. Honours Student 2022/23 

I am currently pursuing a bachelor of science (Honours) in Anthropology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. I am interested in themes of how humans and wildlife share spaces, and the role primate behavioural flexibility plays in human-wildlife relationships. Under the supervision of Dr. Ammie Kalan, I will be conducting a meta-analysis of flexible behaviours adopted by primates living in areas of high human disturbance as my honour’s thesis project


Amy Christensen

Research Assistant

I am currently in my last year of my undergraduate degree at UVic and am a new research assistant in Dr. Ammie Kalan’s lab. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology. I am especially passionate about non-human primate behaviour and the benefits of relationships between animals and humans from a mental health perspective.

Skye Bartel-Ens

Research Assistant

I am currently in my second year of pursuing a BSc in Anthropology at the University of Victoria. After moving to Vancouver Island for my university education last fall, I discovered the field of Anthropology, and so many new passions because of it. The study of behavioural ecology has been of recent interest to me, and I am excited to continue uncovering how much we can learn from our primate relatives.

SKYE Gab Lab photo.JPEG

Emma Rees

Research Assistant

I recently completed my undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Anthropology) at the University of Victoria and am a new research assistant in the Great Ape Behaviour Lab. I am interested in how certain environmental constraints have impacted non-human primate behaviours over time and have ultimately led to adaptations.

the GAB Lab: Team
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