Melissa Remis

Melissa Remis

Department Head // Anthropology

Professor // Anthropology

Office and Contact

Room: STON 315

Office hours: Spring 2020, Tues. 9:30-10:20


Phone: (765) 496-1514


ANTH 204 Introduction to Human Evolution Anthropology 335 Primate Behavior
ANTH 235 The Great Apes
ANTH 335 Primate Behavior
ANTH 392 Anthropology of Parks: Communities and Conservation
ANTH 535 Foundations of Biological Anthropology
ANTH 536 Primate Ecology

Melissa Jane Remis received her PhD from Yale University in 1994, and joined the Purdue University faculty in 1996.


Africa; Central African Republic; Biological Anthropology: Primate Ecology and Behavior; Human Ecology; Nutrition; Conservation Biology; Hunter-gatherers; Environment; Sustainable Development; Ecology; Wildlife; Gender.

Dr. Remis’ field-based research in the Central African Republic originally focused on the behavioral ecology of western gorillas, which were poorly known before she initiated her field research in the late 1980s. She is currently engaged in collaborative ecological and ethnographic research on interrelated human and wildlife ecologies, diet, health and social impacts of extractive industry and conservation in Central Africa. Dr. Remis also maintains an experimentally based research program on the evolution of feeding strategies among the African apes incorporating research on captive apes in zoological facilities. She has authored or coauthored over 24 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the Conservation Biology, American anthropologist, American Journal of Primatology, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, International Journal of Primatology, and Primates. She has presented papers at national and international conferences and has been invited to participate at special conferences and to contribute to edited volumes. She has served as a reviewer and board panel member for granting agencies including NSF and Wenner-Gren and academic journals in physical anthropology, primatology, ecology and conservation. She was named to the editorial board at International Journal of Primatology in 2003. At Purdue she has taught courses on Primate Ecology, Conservation and Behavior, and Biological Anthropology at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. She has trained US and central African graduate students in African field research and undergraduates from several institutions in zoo based research. Remis Research Group Please follow this link for more information about Dr. Remis, her graduate students and the current research that they are conducting.


Positions at Purdue University

2015-Present | Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, College of Liberal Arts

2014-15 | Interim Department Head, Department of Anthropology

2008 - Present | Professor of Anthropology

2001 - 2008 | Associate Professor of Anthropology

1996 - 2001 | Assistant Professor of Anthropology


Service to the Profession

Editorial Board, International Journal of Primatology, 2003 – present

Reviewer, National Geographic Society Grants for Research, 1999 - present

Reviewer, Physical Anthropology and Ecology Programs, NSF, 1997 – present


Honors and Awards

CIC Academic Leadership Program Fellow 2012-13

Purdue University Scholar 2006-2011


Five Most Important Publications

2009 Remis, M.J. and R. Hardin. Transvalued Species in an African Forest. Conservation Biology v. 23(6):1588-1596.

2006 Hardin, R and Remis, M.J. Biological and Cultural Anthropology of a Changing Tropical Forest: A Fruitful Collaboration Across Subfields American Anthropologist v 108 (2) 273-285.

2004 Remis, M.J., Dierenfeld, E.S. Digesta Passage, Digestibility and Behavior in Captive Gorillas Under Two Dietary Regimens. International Journal of Primatology 25(4)825-845.

1997 Remis, M.J. 1997. Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) as seasonal frugivores: Use of variable resources. American Journal of Primatology, 43:87-109.

1995 Remis, M.J. 1995. Use of trees by lowland gorillas: The importance of body size and social context. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 97(4): 413-433.


Most Recent Publications

2014 Remis, Melissa J. and C.A. Jost Robinson. Examining short-term nutritional status among BaAka foragers in transitional economies American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Article first published online: 17 APR 2014 | DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.22521

2014 Smith, B.K., M.J. Remis, and E.S. Dierenfeld. Nutrition of the captive western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla): a dietary survey. Zoo Biology 1–7

2014 Jost Robinson, C.A. and Remis, M.J. Entangled Realms: Hunters and Hunted in the Dzanga Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS), Central African Republic. Anthropology Quarterly. 87(3): 613-633.

2014 Malone, N., Fuentes, A., Riley, E.P., M. Remis, A.H. Wade and C.J. Robinson Ethnoprimatology: critical interdisciplinarity and multispecies approaches in anthropology Theme issue: “Critical perspectives on multi-species ethnography. Critique of Anthropology 34:8-29.

2012 Remis, M.J. and C.A. Jost Robinson Reductions in primate abundance and diversity in a multiuse protected area: synergistic impacts of hunting and logging in a Congo Basin forest, American Journal of Primatology 74: 602-612.


Extramural Grant Support

National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

National Geographic Society.

World Wildlife Fund-US& Primate Conservation Inc.,


Field Experience

Diet, food security and sociocultural change among hunter-gathers in transition to market economies in conservation zones in the Central African Republic.

Impacts of human disturbance on mammal populations in the Congo Basin, Dzanga Sangha Reserve, Central African Republic (CAR).

Diet, Nutrition, Food preferences, taste & digestion and captive management among apes.

Post-Doctoral research on sex differences in gorilla ecology, CAR.

Doctoral Research on the feeding ecology and positional behavior of gorillas, CAR, Aug 1990-Nov, 1992. Pilot: Sep-Dec 1988.



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