Christine M. Drea

Professor of Biology

Office: 
129 Bio Sci Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Duke Box 90383, 08 Bio Sci Bldg, Durham, NC 27708-0383
Phone: 
(919) 660-7367
I have two broad research interests, sexual differentiation and social behavior, both focused on hyenas and primates. I am particularly interested in unusual species in which the females display a suite of masculinized characteristics, including male- like or exaggerated external genitalia and social dominance. The study of naturally occurring hormones in such unique mammals can reveal general processes of hormonal activity, expressed in genital morphology, reproductive development, and social behavior. Taking a combined laboratory and field approach allows me to relate captive data to various facets of the animals' natural habitat, thereby enhancing the ecological validity of assay procedures and enriching interpretation in an evolutionary framework. The goal of comparative studies of hyenas and lemurs is to help elucidate the mechanisms of mammalian sexual differentiation. My research program in social behavior focuses on social learning and group cohesion. Using naturalistic tasks that I present to captive animals in socially relevant contexts, I can investigate how social interaction modulates behavior, problem- solving, and cognitive performance. By studying and comparing models of carnivore and primate foraging, I can better understand how group-living animals modify their actions to meet environmental demands. A primary interest is determining whether similar factors, related to having a complex social organization, influence learning and performance across taxonomic groups. I am also interested in how animals learn rules of social conduct and maintain social cohesion, as evidenced by their patterns of behavioral developmental, the intricate balance between aggression and play, the expression of scent marking, and the social facilitation or inhibition of behavior.

Education

  • Ph.D., Emory University 1991

  • M.A., Emory University 1990

  • B.S., University of Maryland, College Park 1984

Conley, Alan, Ned J. Place, Erin L. Legacki, Geoff L. Hammond, Gerald R. Cunha, Christine M. Drea, Mary L. Weldele, and Steve E. Glickman. “Spotted hyaenas and the sexual spectrum: reproductive endocrinology and development.The Journal of Endocrinology 247, no. 1 (October 2020): R27–44. https://doi.org/10.1530/joe-20-0252. Full Text

Greene, Lydia K., Cathy V. Williams, Randall E. Junge, Karine L. Mahefarisoa, Tsiky Rajaonarivelo, Hajanirina Rakotondrainibe, Thomas M. O’Connell, and Christine M. Drea. “A role for gut microbiota in host niche differentiation.The Isme Journal 14, no. 7 (July 2020): 1675–87. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41396-020-0640-4. Full Text

Drea, Christine M. “Design, delivery and perception of condition-dependent chemical signals in strepsirrhine primates: implications for human olfactory communication.Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 375, no. 1800 (June 2020): 20190264. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2019.0264. Full Text

Bornbusch, Sally Lyons, Nicholas M. Grebe, Siera Lunn, Chelsea A. Southworth, Kristin Dimac-Stohl, and Christine Drea. “Stable and transient structural variation in lemur vaginal, labial and axillary microbiomes: patterns by species, body site, ovarian hormones and forest access.Fems Microbiology Ecology 96, no. 6 (June 2020). https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiaa090. Full Text

Greene, Lydia K., Sally L. Bornbusch, Erin A. McKenney, Rachel L. Harris, Sarah R. Gorvetzian, Anne D. Yoder, and Christine M. Drea. “The importance of scale in comparative microbiome research: New insights from the gut and glands of captive and wild lemurs.American Journal of Primatology 81, no. 10–11 (October 2019): e22974. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajp.22974. Full Text

Grebe, Nicholas M., Courtney Fitzpatrick, Katherine Sharrock, Anne Starling, and Christine M. Drea. “Organizational and activational androgens, lemur social play, and the ontogeny of female dominance.Hormones and Behavior 115 (September 2019): 104554. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yhbeh.2019.07.002. Full Text Open Access Copy

Grogan, Kathleen E., Rachel L. Harris, Marylène Boulet, and Christine M. Drea. “Genetic variation at MHC class II loci influences both olfactory signals and scent discrimination in ring-tailed lemurs.Bmc Evolutionary Biology 19, no. 1 (August 22, 2019): 171. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12862-019-1486-0. Full Text

Greene, Lydia K., Jonathan B. Clayton, Ryan S. Rothman, Brandon P. Semel, Meredith A. Semel, Thomas R. Gillespie, Patricia C. Wright, and Christine M. Drea. “Local habitat, not phylogenetic relatedness, predicts gut microbiota better within folivorous than frugivorous lemur lineages.Biology Letters 15, no. 6 (June 12, 2019): 20190028. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2019.0028. Full Text

Greene, Lydia K., Erin A. McKenney, Thomas M. O’Connell, and Christine M. Drea. “The critical role of dietary foliage in maintaining the gut microbiome and metabolome of folivorous sifakas.Scientific Reports 8, no. 1 (September 27, 2018): 14482. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-32759-7. Full Text

Dimac-Stohl, Kristin A., Charli S. Davies, Nicholas M. Grebe, Alexandra C. Stonehill, Lydia K. Greene, Jessica Mitchell, Tim Clutton-Brock, and Christine M. Drea. “Incidence and biomarkers of pregnancy, spontaneous abortion, and neonatal loss during an environmental stressor: Implications for female reproductive suppression in the cooperatively breeding meerkat.Physiology & Behavior 193, no. Pt A (September 2018): 90–100. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.11.011. Full Text

Pages

Bornbusch, Sally L., Lydia K. Greene, Rachel L. Harris, and Christine M. Drea. “Glandular microbiomes vary by species and host traits in wild and captive lemurs.” In American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 168:25–25. WILEY, 2019.

Drea, Christine M. “Social Communication of Condition-Dependent Olfactory Signals in Strepsirrhine Primates.” In Chemical Senses, 43:E7–E7. OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2018.

Gorvetzian, Sarah R., Lydia K. Greene, and Christine M. Drea. “Free-ranging access improves the gut microbiome of captive Eulemur.” In American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 165:103–103. WILEY, 2018.

Drea, Christine M., Thomas E. Goodwin, and Javier Delbarco-Trillo. “Pee-mail: The information highway of nocturnal strepsirrhines.” In American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 165:71–72. WILEY, 2018.

Bornbusch, Sally L., Lydia K. Greene, and Christine M. Drea. “Anthropogenic disturbance as a determinant of gut microbiome structure in Madagascar's ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta).” In American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 165:33–33. WILEY, 2018.

Grebe, Nicholas M., and Christine M. Drea. “Ontogeny of female dominance in ring-tailed lemurs: behavioral and hormonal evidence.” In American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 165:104–104. WILEY, 2018.

Greene, Lydia K., Erin A. Mckenney, Thomas M. O’Connell, and Christine M. Drea. “Dietary foliage regulates the gut microbiome and colonic metabolome of captive Coquerel's sifakas.” In American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 165:105–105. WILEY, 2018.

Drea, Christine M. “Condition-dependent Scent Signals in Strepsirrhine Primates.” In American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 162:165–66. WILEY, 2017.

Smyth, K. N., A. Stonehill, N. Caruso, and C. M. Drea. “Consequences of Prenatal Androgen Exposure for Offspring Health: an Experimental Study in Wild Meerkats.” In Integrative and Comparative Biology, 57:E158–E158. OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2017.

Harris, R. L., and C. M. Drea. “In Sickness and In Health: Olfactory Cues of Injury and Illness in Lemurs.” In Integrative and Comparative Biology, 57:E284–E284. OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2017.

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Selected Grants

Doctoral Dissertation Research: Antimicrobial resistance as a form of anthropogenic disturbance to lemur gut microbiomes awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2022

Lemur Health, the Microbiome, and Condition-dependent Signals awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2021

Life in the wild takes guts: The gut microbiome relative to the phylogeny, folivory, and environment of endangered Malagasy lemurs awarded by Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2018

Linking Dietary Quality to the Gut Microbiome of Endangered Malagasy Primates awarded by Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2017

Mechanisms of Female Dominance and Reproductive Skew in a Cooperative Breeder awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2016

REU Supplement: Mechanisms of Social Dynamics in Meerkats awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2016

Doctoral Dissertation Improvement: The Behavioral And Social Effects of Hormone Manipulation in Female-Dominant Lemurs awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2015

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