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Jessica Hartel, Ph.D.

Title: Lecturer

Office: Dahlonega
Areas of Expertise: primatology, chimpanzee behavioral ecology, flexibility, aggression and sociality, cognition, conservation, and welfare

Courses Taught

BIOL 1108K - Principles of Biology II
BIOL 4426 - Special Topics in Primates
BIOL 1260/L - Environmental Science
BIOL 1102/L - Introduction to Ecology
BIOL 1101/L - Biology: A Human Perspective


  • Ph.D., Integrative and Evolutionary Biology, University of Southern California, 2015
  • M.S., Experimental Psychology, Central Washington University, 2005
  • B.S., Biology and Anthropology, Missouri State University, 2003

Research/Special Interests

Dr. Hartel's current research focuses on chimpanzee and human sympatry and how to balance human population growth and resource demand with chimpanzee conservation in an anthropogenic-dominated landscape. Dr. Hartel began pursing this avenue of research when she was appointed in 2013 as the Director of Conservation for the Kibale Chimpanzee Project ( in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Initially, she is focusing generally on assessing the major threats to chimpanzee conservation in Uganda (i.e., snaring and deforestation) while working collaboratively with other chimpanzee field projects in Uganda to develop a comprehensive picture that can better mitigate these anthropogenic threats. Her research will also expand to focus on how chimpanzees have been affected by these threats and whether they are able to adapt to these pressures. Dr. Hartel utilizes long-term data from the Kibale Chimpanzee Project to assess how chimpanzee snare injury presence and severity affects activity budget and social behavior.

Students interested in this line of research should contact Dr. Hartel to learn about opportunities to join her chimpanzee conservation research group.


Fedurek, P., Slocombe, K. E., Hartel, J. A., Zuberbuhler, K. (2015). Chimpanzee lip-smacking facilitates cooperative behaviour. Scientific Reports, 5.

Hartel, J. A. (2014). Animal language: Are animals saying anything? Psychology Review, 20(1), 2-5.

Hamer, S., Bernard, A., Donovan, R., Hartel, J., Wrangham, R., Otali, E., & Goldberg, T. (2013). Coincident tick infestations in the nostrils of wild chimpanzees and a human in Uganda. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, 89, 924-927.

Personal Information

Dr. Hartel interest in biology and passion for animals started at an early age as she grew up on a small family farm 40 minutes north of Kansas City, Missouri. She therefore loves spending time outdoors immersed in nature and enjoys traveling to remote areas to experience the natural beauty of our world. She has been a vegetarian for over 10 years and prides herself as an advocate for the ethical treatment of non-human animals. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains with her husband, Matt, and her two shih tzus, Gidget and Yogi.

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