Research in my laboratory focuses on mammalian behavioral development, its physiological substrates, the socio-ecological forces shaping it, and its evolution. My students and I are currently investigating how social, ecological, and endocrine variables interact during an individual's early development to influence its subsequent behavior, survival and reproductive success as an adult.
New mobbing paper led by Kenna Lehmann & Tracy Montgomery gets lots of press.
Our recent paper in Current Zoology on cooperative mobbing behavior by hyenas against lions has been picked up by a variety of media outlets including MSU Today, Daily Planet, The Discovery Channel, etc. You can see the MSU Today story here.
Smithsonian highlights Flies et al. (2016) study on rank-related variation in immune function in hyenas
A study by alumnus Andy Flies was featured in the Smithsonian Magazine. The piece discusses how higher-ranking hyenas have better immune function than their lower-ranking clanmates. You can find the article here.
Spotted hyenas featured in new book on mammalian reproduction
In their forthcoming book, Mammalian Reproduction: A Female Perspective, co-authors Virginia Hayssen and Teri Orr start every chapter with a vignette about spotted hyenas. The authors make clear that the unique physiology and fascinating mating patterns of the spotted hyena compel us to take a closer look at what we think we know about mammalian reproduction. See the story here.
Julia Greenberg's dissertation work featured on Mongabay
A portion of the dissertation work by senior grad student Julia Greenberg, one she presented recently at the annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology, is currently featured on the Mongabay website here.
Forthcoming book on Mara Hyena Project for middle school kids
Author Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop are writing a book on Kay and the MSU Mara hyena project, to be called "The Hyena Scientist, " as part of their "Scientists in the Field" series. They recently spent several days at our Talek camp, watching hyenas with us, and interviewing project participants.
BBC Features the Hyena Project
BBC Earth has a very nice feature story about hyenas based on our project titled "The Truth about Hyenas" by Henry Nicholls. We like the "Tweetable facts" section that includes things like "Spotted hyenas are not scavengers, but hunt down at least 50% of their own food."
Kay's career featured in the Detroit Free Press
A really nice article about Kay and the history of her career was featured in the January 5th Detroit Free Press:
Pick your spots: Chance encounter leads MSU professor to career studying hyenas - By Ellen Creager
Dr. Kate Yoshida (formerly Kate Shaw) writing makes cover of
NYT Science section
Alumna Dr. Kate Yoshida (formerly Kate Shaw) has an article on the cover of the NYT Science section today titled A Symbol of the Range Returns Home
Congrats Kate!! She also currently writes for Ars Technica ( link to profile)
Learn all about hyenas from the IUCN Hyena family conservation website, sponsored and maintained by our lab.
Kay E. Holekamp
Department of Integrative Biology,
Program in Ecology, Evolution, Biology & Behavior (EEBB),
Michigan State University
B.A. Smith College, Northampton,MA
Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, CA
203 Natural Science Building
288 Farm Lane
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1115
Office Phone: (517) 432-3691
Laboratory Phone: (517) 353-3771
Department Fax: (517) 432-278
Scientist at Work