Dereje Tesfaye Delkaso
I am PhD student at CEES with the project on the behavioural ecology of Colobus guereza gallarum and intraspecific genetic divergence between subspecies of the Colobus guereza, in Ethiopia. C. g. gallarum is one of the subspecies of Colobus gureza, which is categorized as Data Deficient by IUCN. However, the existence of the subspecies is reported from the Ethiopian Highlands east of the Rift Valley, little is known on the distribution pattern, ecology and its genetics. It is evident that, Ethiopian forest is shrinking during the last few decades, and lack of information on the basic ecology and distribution pattern of many species complicates the conservation effort. Hence, understanding the taxonomic relationship and obtaining background ecological data for those subspecies with no data are important steps for effective conservation management. Therefore, my research aims to both understand the taxonomic position of Colobus guereza as a species using molecular genetics and to provide detailed behavioural ecology data for the conservation of the little-known subspecies, C. g. gallarum. The taxonomic study of C. guereza will be carried out using mitochondrial DNA (Cytb, 12s. 16s and COI) sequencing by sampling all the eight subspecies. We will extract DNA primarily from fecal (pellet) samples, but tissue and hair samples from museums also will be used whenever available. The distribution of C. g. gallarum will be determined in the Ethiopian highlands east of the Rift Valley, foraging ecology, activity pattern and grouping behaviour of the subspecies will be studied to fulfil information gap about the study animal. I was working on Boutourlini’s blue monkey (Cercopithecus mitis boutourlinii) and Colobus guereza guereza. I am also interested to study threatened mammals of Ethiopia.