Molecular Anthropology Group

at the University of Oregon

Nelson Ting

Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
Institute of Ecology and Evolution
Affiliate Faculty in the Environmental Studies Program

Office: 302B Condon Hall
Office Phone: 541-346-5509

Lab Office: 345 CMER
Lab Office Phone: 541-346-8878

Laboratory Location: 305 CMER
Lab Phone: 541-346-8879

Ph.D. Anthropology, City University of New York Graduate Center, New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (2008)
M.A. Anthropology, University of Missouri-Columbia (2001)
B.A. Biology and Anthropology, Washington University StL (1999)

Areas of Specialization

Molecular Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Conservation Biology, Phylogenetics, Population Genetics, Phylogeography

I am an anthropologist and evolutionary biologist who uses genetics to address a wide variety of questions regarding the ecology, evolution, and behavior of our closest relatives - the non-human primates. I enjoy working at the intersection of multiple disciplines, and my research program reflects this by incorporating both field and lab-based methods. I also maintain a strong interest in conservation biology, so much of my work focuses on threatened wild populations with the goal of helping guide conservation strategies. I have been most involved in studying primate communities and/or species in the tropics of Africa, but I am interested in a variety of primate and non-primate taxa. Currently, the major focus of my research program is understanding how evolutionary processes have shaped patterns of modern primate biological diversity. This includes investigating the effects of environmental change, both natural and anthropogenic, on primate communities.


I would like to thank the University of Oregon, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Primate Conservation Inc., and the American Society of Primatologists for funding various projects in my group.

UO       NIH       NIAID       nsf1       WG       pci_logo      ASP

Ongoing Research Topics

Kibale EcoHealth Project - Biological and social drivers of primate disease transmission
: My collaborators and I are studying how biological, social, and cultural factors combine to influence the transmission of primate pathogens within and between species in Kibale National Park, Uganda. My primary interest in this project is in determining the genetic and ecological factors that affect pathogen transmission and persistence. We are using Restriction-site Associated DNA sequencing and RNA sequencing to better understand these issues from the biological side, and we are also conducting ethnographic research in the local communities surrounding Kibale to understand cultural and social factors that drive zoonotic transmission. This research is currently funded by the NIH through the Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease Program. [pictures]

Environmental change and primate population dynamics
: I am interested in how primate population dynamics have been affected by environmental change, including both climate change in the distant past and recent human-related habitat alteration. This research involves coalescent-based methods for the inference of demographic history and landscape genetic methods to identify features important in driving genetic differentiation among populations. The results of this work are ultimately important to informing theory and practice in conservation biology.

Primate molecular systematics
: I maintain a long standing interest in primate molecular systematics. This not only includes the theoretical underpinnings behind phylogenetic reconstruction and classification, but also the use of systematics to better understand speciation, biogeography, evolutionary relationships among fossil and living species, and the designation of conservation priorities among threatened taxa. Although my research has focused on elucidating the phylogenetic relationships among the leaf-eating monkeys (subfamily Colobinae), I am interested in the systematics and evolutionary history of all members of the primate order.

Primate social systems and behavior
: Through my collaborators and members of my research team I have been developing a growing interest in the use of genetics to better understand the social systems and behavior of non-human primates. This includes how social systems affect patterns of genetic variation, what environmental and ecological factors affect sex-biased dispersal, and how kinship influences social behavior.