Dr. Melodie Kreyer

Department for the Ecology of Animal Societies
Research Group Fruth

Main Focus

Medicinal plant use

Based on our current knowledge of bonobos’ food repertoire, there is a wide overlap with a number of plant species being used by local populations to prevent or treat diverse diseases. To date, little is known on wild bonobo disease, health maintenance and restoration. This project aims at shedding some light on cryptic feeding, sickness, and self-medicative behavior in LuiKotale bonobos. Using focal animal sampling, parasitological techniques and immunological markers, we address the following questions: (i) what are the effects of Manniophyton fulvum (Euphorbiaceae) ingestion, a plant shown to have medicinal properties, on bonobo health; (ii) which parasite species infect bonobos in LuiKotale; (iii) what are the means used to cope with these infections; (iv) which plant species within the bonobo food repertoire are candidates for medicinal use; (iv) how does the cell-mediated immune response (measured with neopterin) vary within the population, and with respect to health /disease symptoms; (v) to what extent varies the neopterin pattern from that of other species, and (vi) what are the sickness behaviors shown by bonobos? In addition to the fundamental knowledge gained by these investigations, the study of health and disease, particularly in the context of rapid environmental changes, provides important information translating into conservation measures.

Curriculum Vitae

  • since 2018: PhD student on the use of medicinal plants by wild bonobos in LuiKotale, DRC. Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, United Kingdom & Centre for Research & Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Belgium
  • 2013-2014: MSc 2 in Biodiversity and Tropical Ecosystems (with distinction). University of La Reunion, St Denis, Reunion Island, France 2012-2013: MSc 1 in Biodiversity, Ecology, Environment. Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble, France
  • 2009-2012: BSc in Life and Health. Nice Sophia-Antipolis University, Nice, France
  • 2008-2009: Nursing School (1st year). Nice University Hospital Center, Nice, France
Experience in Research and Conservation
  • 2018-2020: PhD data collection focusing on the use of medicinal plants by wild bonobos in LuiKotale, DRC (supervisors: Prof. Dr. Barbara Fruth, Dr. habil. Verena Behringer)
  • 09/2016-09/2017: Research assistant, LuiKotale Bonobo Project, DRC Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich and Max Planck Institute & Centre for Research & Conservation, Royal Zoological Society of Antwerp, Belgium
  • 05/2015-03/2016: Project Manager - NGO Friends of the Orangutans, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
  • 01/2014-06/2014: MSc 2 Internship: “Assessment of an innovative friendly housing development for koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) conservation in New South Wales, Australia” - The Australian Koala Foundation (Brisbane QLD, Australia), supervisor: Dr. Douglas Kerlin
  • 04/2013-06/2013: MSc 1 Internship: “Determination of the otter (Lutra lutra) hosting potential in Alsace, France” Part of the European otter Action Plan for Conservation - Reintroduction Center of Storks and Otters (Hunawihr, France), supervisor: Mr. Alexandre Lehmann
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