Jen Tinsman

Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology
Columbia University


B.A. 2012, Swarthmore College



Overview of Research

There are two species of black lemur living on a climate gradient in northwestern Madagascar. The black lemur (Eulemur macaco) lives in evergreen rainforest, which rapidly transitions into hotter, drier blue-eyed black lemur (E. flavifrons) habitat. I study how the blue-eyed black lemur adapted to this new environment at a genomic level. Understanding what happens to lemur species when they shift to hotter and drier niches will be informative for conservation, because this is what’s predicted for Madagascar as climate change progresses. I’ll be examining changes in adaptive and neutral genes in both species as they relate to the climate gradient. I’m also interested in how these two species became distinct from one another – did a river separate them, or did adapting to different ecological niches do so? Finally, my research will also assess genetic diversity, and identify any isolated populations, which could inform conservation efforts for these Critically Endangered (E. flavifrons) and Vulnerable (E. macaco) species.


Tinsman J, Hagelin J, and Jolly A. 2017. Scent marking preferences in ringtailed lemurs (Lemur catta) in the spiny forest of Berenty Reserve, Madagascar. Lemur News 20.

Schwitzer C, Mittermeier RA, Johnson SE, Donati G, Irwin M, Peacock H, Ratsimbazafy J, Razafindramanana J, Louis Jr. EE, Chikhi L, Colquhoun IC, Tinsman J, Dolch R, LaFleur M, Nash S, Patel E, Randrianambinina B, Rasolofoharivelo T, Wright PC. 2014. Averting lemur extinctions amid Madagascar’s political crisis. Science 343(6173): 842-843. DOI: 10.1126/science.1245783.

Eppley TM, Suchak M, Crick J*, de Waal FBM. 2013. Perseverance and food sharing among closely affiliated female chimpanzees. Primates 54: 319–324. DOI 10.1007/s10329-013-0374-2

Crick J*, Suchak M, Eppley TM, Campbell MW, de Waal FBM. 2013. The roles of food quality and sex in chimpanzee sharing behavior (Pan troglodytes). Behaviour 150: 1203–1224. DOI: 10.1163/1568539X-00003087

* Publications under my former name.