Postdoctoral Research Affiliate

2012-13: Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin
Email: carrie[dot]c[dot]veilleux[at]

Research Interests

I am a physical anthropologist with primary research interests in primate molecular and sensory ecology. My research explores the genetic basis of sensory adaptations and the interactions of sensory function (color detection, visual acuity, taste discrimination) and ecology using a multidisciplinary approach, including population genetics, comparative genomics, psychophysical tests of sensory abilities, and field studies of sensory environments.

My current research focuses is on applying a molecular ecology approach to explore the relationship between sensory and dietary adaptations in humans and other primates. My postdoctoral work has involved examining color vision and foraging using genetic techniques in diurnal sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi) and nocturnal woolly lemur (genus Avahi) and taste receptor gene expression in lemurs. I am also interested more broadly in understanding how nocturnal primates differentially experience "nocturnality", such as differences in relation to the lunar cycle and activity.

In my dissertation, I explored how variation in light environments between habitat types has influenced primate and mammal visual systems. My research focused on (1) identifying anatomical adaptations to habitat differences in light intensity, (2) factors influencing variation in nocturnal light environments (such as lunar phase, canopy opennes, lunar altitude), (3) ecological effects (habitat type, diet) on nocturnal mammal visual pigment spectral tuning, and (4) the role of habitat type on molecular signatures of selection on primate opsin genes.