Jessica Rothman

Professor Department of Anthropology Hunter College and The Graduate Center City University of New York


Ph.D. 2006, Cornell University




Tel: (212) 772-4064

Fax: (212) 772-5243

Overview of Research

Dr. Jessica Rothman is broadly interested in primate ecology. The major focus of her research is how primates meet their nutritional needs through interactions with their environment, and she is specifically interested in how sociality, movement and disease intersect with nutritional ecology. Her field work is conducted in the forests of Uganda, where she has been working since 1997. Dr. Rothman’s program is actively embedded in conservation and training through strong linkages with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and Makerere University.

* please note: I am currently taking on PhD students who are interested in primate nutritional ecology and have an interest in a combination of field and lab- based research.


Blumenthal SA, Chritz KL, Rothman JM, and TE Cerling. Detecting intra-annual dietary variability in wild mountain gorillas by stable isotope analysis of feces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in press

Isbell LA, Rothman JM, Young PJ, and K Rudolph. Nutritional benefits of Crematogaster mimosae ant and Acacia drepanolobium gum to patas monkeys and vervets in Laikipia, Kenya. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, in press

Chapman CA, Bonnell T, Gogarten JF, Lambert JE, Omeja PA, Twinomugisha D, Wasserman MD, and JM Rothman. Primates as ecosystem engineers. International Journal of Primatology, in press

Rothman JM, Vogel ER, and SA Blumenthal. Diet and nutrition.In: Blair M., Bynum, N. and Sterling E. Primate ecology and conservation: a handbook of techniques. Oxford University Press, in press

Chapman CA, and JM Rothman. Frugivores and folivores: foraging challenges and their social consequences. In: Yamagiwa J, Karczmarski L, Social Ecology of Dolphins, Monkeys and Apes: a comparative overview. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, in press

Raubenheimer D, and JM Rothman. The nutritional ecology of entomophagy in humans and other primates. Annual Review of Entomology, in press

Chapman CA, Ghai R, Reyna-Hurtado R, Jacob AL, Koojo SM, Rothman JM, Twinomugisha D, and TL Goldberg. Going, going, gone: a 15 year history of the decline of primate populations in forest fragments. In: Primates in Fragments (ed. L. Marsh and C. Chapman), in press

Ryan AM, Chapman CA, and JM Rothman. How does dietary consumption affect nutrient concentrations? A test with red colobus. African Journal of Ecology, in press

Chapman CA, Rothman JM, and JE Lambert. (2012) Primate foraging strategies and nutrition: behavioral and evolutionary implications. In: Mitani J, Call J, Kappeler P, Palombit R, and J Silk (eds.) The Evolution of Primate Societies, pp. 145-167

Gogarten JF, Guzman M, Chapman CA, Jacob AL, Omeja P, and JM Rothman (2012) What is the predictive power of the colobine protein-to-fiber model and its conservation value? Tropical Conservation Science 5:381-393.

Laurence et al. (many authors including JM Rothman) (2012) Averting biodiversity collapse in tropical forest protected areas. Nature 489:290-294.

Johnson CA, Swedell L and JM Rothman (2012) Ecology of olive baboons in the Kibale National Park, Uganda: preliminary results on diet and food selection. African Journal of Ecology 50:367-370.

Rothman JM, CA Chapman and PJ Van Soest (2012) Methods in primate nutritional ecology: a user's guide. International Journal of Primatology, 33:542-566.

Chapman CA, Bowman DD, Ghai RR, Goldberg TL, Gogarten J, Rothman JM, Twinomugisha D, and C Walsh (2012) Long-term changes in primate parasites: a test of the biological island hypothesis. American Journal of Primatology, 74:510-517.

Wasserman MD, Taylor-Gutt A, Rothman JM, Chapman CA, Milton K, and DC Leitman (2012) The estrogenic plant foods of red colobus monkeys and mountain gorillas in Uganda. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 148:88-97.

Yisehak K, Becker A, Rothman JM, Dierenfeld E, Marescau B, Bosch, G, Hendriks W, and GPJ Janssens (2012) Salivary proline and plasma micromineral response to condensed tannins in free-ranging Zebu cattle as a marker of habitat degradation. Livestock Science, 144: 88-97.

Reid AJ, Tombak KJ, Chapman CA, Rothman JM, Johnson CA, and R Reyna-Hurtado (2012) Patch depletion differs in sympatric folivorous monkeys. Primates, 53: 57-64.

Rothman JM, Raubenheimer D, and CA Chapman (2011) Nutritional geometry: gorillas prioritize non-protein energy while consuming surplus protein. Biology Letters, 7:847-849.

Chapman CA, Chapman LJ, Hartter J, Jacob AL, Lwanga JS, Omeja P, Rothman JM, Twinomugisha D (2011) Complex responses to climate and anthropogenic changes: an evaluation based on long-term data from Kibale National Park, Uganda. In: Climate change in the Albertine Rift A. Plumptre ed. Nova Science Publishers, Hauppauge, New York, pp. 70-87.

Wanyama F, Muhabwe R, Plumptre AJ, Chapman CA, and JM Rothman (2010) Censusing large mammals in Kibale National Park: evaluation of the intensity of sampling required to determine change.  African Journal of Ecology, 48:953-961.

Chapman CA, Struhsaker TT, Skorupa JP, Snaith TV, and JM Rothman (2010) Understanding long-term primate community dynamics: implications for forest change. Ecological Applications 20:179-191.

Chapman CA, Chapman LJ, Jacob AL, Rothman JM, Omeja PA, Reyna-Hurtado R, Lawes M and J Hartter (2010) Tropical tree community shifts: implications for wildlife conservation. Biological Conservation 143:366-374.

Chapman CA, Speirs M, Hodder SAM, and JM Rothman (2010) Colobus monkey parasite infections in wet and dry habitats: implications for climate change. African Journal of Ecology 48:555-558.

Rothman JM, Chapman CA, Hansen JL, Cherney DJ, and AN Pell (2009) Rapid assessment of the nutritional value of mountain gorilla foods: applying near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy to primatology. International Journal of Primatology30:729-742.

Rothman JM, Dusinberre K, and AN Pell (2009) Condensed tannins in the diets of primates: a matter of methods? American Journal of Primatology 71:70-76.

Rothman JM, Pell AN, and DD Bowman (2009) How does diet quality affect the parasite ecology of mountain gorillas?  In: Huffman MA, Chapman CA (eds.) Primate parasite ecology: the dynamics and study of host-parasite relationships, Cambridge University Press, pp. 441-462.

Chapman CA, Rothman JM, and SAM Hodder (2009) Can parasites be a selective force influencing primate group size? A test with red colobus.  In: Huffman MA, Chapman CA (eds.) Primate parasite ecology: the dynamics and study of host-parasite relationships, Cambridge University Press, pp. 423-440.

Chapman CA, Hodder SAM, and JM Rothman (2009) Host-parasite dynamics: connecting primate field data to theory.  In: Huffman MA, and Chapman CA (eds.) Primate parasite ecology: the dynamics and study of host-parasite relationships, Cambridge University Press, pp. 463-483.

Chapman CA, and JM Rothman (2009) Within-species differences in primate social structure: evolution of plasticity and phylogenetic constraints. Primates 50:12-22.

Rothman JM, Chapman CA, Twinomugisha D, Wasserman MD, Lambert JE, and TL Goldberg (2008) Measuring physical traits of primates remotely: the use of parallel lasers. American Journal of Primatology 70:1191-1195.

Rothman JM, Chapman CA, and AN Pell (2008) Fiber-bound protein in gorilla diets: implications for estimating the intake of dietary protein by primates. American Journal of Primatology 70:690-694.

Snaith TV, Chapman CA, Rothman JM, and MD Wasserman (2008) Bigger groups have fewer parasites and similar cortisol levels: a multi-group analysis in red colobus monkeys. American Journal of Primatology 70:1072-1080.

Rothman JM, Pell AN, and DD Bowman (2008) Host-parasite ecology of the helminths of mountain gorillas. Journal of Parasitology 94:834-840.

Rothman JM, Dierenfeld ES, Hintz HF, and AN Pell (2008) Nutritional quality of gorilla diets: consequences of age, sex and season. Oecologia 155:111-122.

Rothman JM, Plumptre AJ, Dierenfeld ES, and AN Pell (2007) Nutritional composition of the diet of the gorilla (Gorilla beringei): a comparison between two montane habitats. Journal of Tropical Ecology 23:673-682.

Rothman JM, Van Soest PJ, and AN Pell (2006) Decaying wood is a sodium source for mountain gorillas. Biology Letters 2: 321-324.

Frey JC, Rothman JM, Pell AN, Nizeyi JB, Cranfield MR, and EA Angert (2006) Fecal bacterial diversity in a wild gorilla (Gorilla beringei). Applied and Environmental Microbiology 72:3788-3792.

Rothman JM, Pell AN, Nkurunungi JB, and ES Dierenfeld (2006) Nutritional aspects of the diet of wild gorillas: how do Bwindi gorillas compare?  In: Newton-Fisher NE, Notman H, Reynolds V, and JD Paterson (eds.) Primates of western Uganda. Springer: New York. pp. 153-169.

Rothman JM, Bowman DD, Kalema- Zikusoka G, and JB Nkurunungi (2006) The parasites of the gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. In: Newton-Fisher NE, Notman H, Reynolds V, and JD Paterson (eds.) Primates of western Uganda. Springer: New York. pp. 171-192.

Rothman JM, Dierenfeld ES, Molina DO, Shaw AV, Hintz HF, and AN Pell (2006) Nutritional chemistry of foods eaten by gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. American Journal of Primatology 68:675-691.

Rothman JM, Pell AN, Dierenfeld ES, and CM McCann (2006) Plant choice in the construction of night nests by gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. American Journal of Primatology 68:361-368.

Kalema- Zikusoka G, Rothman JM, and M Fox (2005) Intestinal parasites and bacteria in mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda. Primates 46:59-63.

Rothman JM, and DD Bowman (2003) A review of the endoparasites of mountain gorillas. In: Bowman DD (ed.) Companion and exotic animal parasitology. International Veterinary Information Service.

Rothman JM, Bowman DD, Eberhard ML, and AN Pell (2002) Intestinal parasites in the research group of gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda: preliminary results. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 969:346-349.

McCann CM, and JM Rothman (1999) Changes in nearest neighbor associations in a captive group of western lowland gorillas after the introduction of hand- reared infants. Zoo Biology18:261-278.

Manuscripts submitted or in revision

Rothman JM, Chapman CA, Struhsaker TT, Raubenheimer D, Twinomugisha D, and PG Waterman. Climate change cascades: decline in the nutritional quality of tropical leaves.

Bryer MA, Chapman CA, and JM Rothman. Diet and polyspecific associations affect spatial patterns of redtail monkeys (Cercopithecus ascanius).

Carlson BA, Rothman JM, and JC Mitani. Diurnal variation in the sapling nutrients associated with foraging behavior in chimpanzees.

Petimar JS, Plumptre AJ, and JM Rothman. Nutrients in the leaf resources consumed by primates in the Budongo Forest Reserve, Uganda

Gogarten JF, Jacob AL, Ghai RR, Rothman JM, Twinomugisha D, Wasserman MD, and CA Chapman Causes and consequences of changing group sizes in a primate community over 15+ years: Implications of non-equilibrium states.

Reiner WB, Petzinger C, Power ML, and JM Rothman. Fatty acids in mountain gorilla diets: implications for primate nutrition and human health.