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Anne D. Yoder, Braxton Craven Distinguished Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology and Faculty Research Scholar of DuPRI's Center for Population Health & Aging and Faculty Network Member of Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society

Anne D. Yoder

My work integrates field inventory activities with molecular phylogenetic techniques and geospatial analysis to investigate Madagascar, an area of the world that is biologically complex, poorly understood, and urgently threatened. Madagascar has been designated as one of the most critical geographic priorities for conservation action, retaining less than 10% of the natural habitats that existed before human colonization. It is critical that information be obtained as quickly as possible to document the biota that occurs in the remaining and highly threatened forested areas of western Madagascar, to gain an understanding of the evolutionary processes and associated distributional patterns that have shaped this diversity, and to use this information to help set conservation priorities. Phylogenetic and biogeographic analysis of Malagasy vertebrates, each with unique life-history and dispersal characteristics, are conducted to identify areas of high endemism potentially associated with underlying geological features, and also to test for the role that geographic features have played in generating patterns of vertebrate diversity and distribution. My lab also has a significant focus on capacity-building through the education and training of both American and Malagasy students. Research opportunities for American graduate students are enhanced by the formation of Malagasy/American partnerships.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  128 Biol Sciences Bldg, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 660-7275
Email Address:

Teaching (Spring 2021):

    Online ON, MWF 12:00 PM-01:15 PM

Ph.D.Duke University1992
B.A.University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill1981

Primate Behavior
Research Interests:

My primary research focus is the phylogenetics and evolution of Madagascar's lemurs. This has also inspired a broader interest in the biogeography of Madagascar, especially its modern terrestrial vertebrates. Given that Madagascar's natural habatitats are under extreme human pressures, I am also involved with conservation projects, especially those that involve training local Malagasy students and other scholars.


Biodiversity • biogeography, Madagascar; phylogenetics; conservation genetics • Biological Evolution • Cheirogaleidae • Conservation of Natural Resources • Demography • Endangered Species • Environment • Evolution, Molecular • Extinction, Biological • Gene Flow • Genetic Speciation • Genetic Variation • Genomics • Hibernation • Lemuridae • Lemurs • Madagascar • Mammals • Models, Genetic • Models, Theoretical • Molecular Sequence Data • Phylogeny • Phylogeography • Sequence Analysis, DNA • Speciation • Vomeronasal Organ

Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

Postdocs Mentored

  • Marina Blanco (2012/12-present)  
  • Peter Larsen (2012/12-present)  
  • Christopher Blair (2012/12-present)  
  • Lauren Chan (2009 - 2012)  
  • Jason Brown (2009/12-2013/10)  
  • Brice Noonan (2007 - 2009)  
  • David Weisrock (2007 - 2009)  
Recent Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Tiley, GP; Poelstra, JW; Dos Reis, M; Yang, Z; Yoder, AD, Molecular Clocks without Rocks: New Solutions for Old Problems., Trends in Genetics : Tig, vol. 36 no. 11 (November, 2020), pp. 845-856 [doi]  [abs]
  2. Blanco, MB; Greene, LK; Rasambainarivo, F; Toomey, E; Williams, RC; Andrianandrasana, L; Larsen, PA; Yoder, AD, Next-generation technologies applied to age-old challenges in Madagascar, Conservation Genetics, vol. 21 no. 5 (October, 2020), pp. 785-793 [doi]  [abs]
  3. Schüßler, D; Blanco, MB; Salmona, J; Poelstra, J; Andriambeloson, JB; Miller, A; Randrianambinina, B; Rasolofoson, DW; Mantilla-Contreras, J; Chikhi, L; Louis, EE; Yoder, AD; Radespiel, U, Ecology and morphology of mouse lemurs (Microcebus spp.) in a hotspot of microendemism in northeastern Madagascar, with the description of a new species., American Journal of Primatology (July, 2020), pp. e23180 [doi]  [abs]
  4. Williams, RC; Blanco, MB; Poelstra, JW; Hunnicutt, KE; Comeault, AA; Yoder, AD, Conservation genomic analysis reveals ancient introgression and declining levels of genetic diversity in Madagascar's hibernating dwarf lemurs., Heredity, vol. 124 no. 1 (January, 2020), pp. 236-251 [doi]  [abs]
  5. Hunnicutt, KE; Tiley, GP; Williams, RC; Larsen, PA; Blanco, MB; Rasoloarison, RM; Campbell, CR; Zhu, K; Weisrock, DW; Matsunami, H; Yoder, AD, Comparative Genomic Analysis of the Pheromone Receptor Class 1 Family (V1R) Reveals Extreme Complexity in Mouse Lemurs (Genus, Microcebus) and a Chromosomal Hotspot across Mammals., Genome Biology and Evolution, vol. 12 no. 1 (January, 2020), pp. 3562-3579 [doi]  [abs]

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