Craig Packer, Principal Investigator
Craig Packer was born in Texas and received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University in 1972. While still at Stanford, Packer went to Tanzania to study baboons with Jane Goodall at the Gombe Stream Research Centre. He then went to the University of Sussex to complete his Ph.D. research on the Gombe baboons. After a study of Japanese macaques in Hakusan National Park, Packer returned to Tanzania in 1978 to head the Serengeti lion project. He subsequently held a postdoctoral position at the University of Chicago and joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in 1983, returning to the Serengeti for several months each year. Packer received a J.S. Guggenheim Fellowship in 1990, became a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in 1997, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. He is the author of “Into Africa,” which won the 1995 John Burroughs medal, and more than 100 scientific articles, most of which are about lions.
Meredith Palmer, Researcher
Meredith's research is focused on predator-prey interactions; specifically, she explores how predators change prey behavior in ways that could potentially impact coexistence and ecosystem functioning. Her current interest in how predators that use different hunting techniques (stalking/ambush vs. coursing/endurance) evoke different anti-predator behaviors. In Serengeti Park, Tanzania, she is using the Snapshot camera trap grid to investigate how variation in predation risk across space and time - the so-called "landscape of fear" - affects ungulate distribution and activity patterns. She is currently conducting new experiments in South African reserves to study prey responses to simulated predator encounters.
Before coming to graduate school, Meredith worked on a variety of field research projects in Central and South America, Africa, and the South Pacific, studying organisms ranging from invasive snakes to endangered felines. She writes about her field adventures for the Snapshot Serengeti blog and is interested in conducting further work with citizen scientists.
Sarah Huebner, Research Manager, SnapshotSafari
Sarah’s research examines the complex ways in which predators and megaherbivores affect the other species within their ecosystems. She is exploring how lions and elephants affect plant life and other animals within fenced reserves when they are reintroduced. Understanding the cascading changes large mammals can initiate will provide valuable data for use in managing conservation and restoration projects. She will utilize the Snapshot Safari network to evaluate the density and distribution of lions and elephants in these wildlife areas and to assess the ways other animals distribute themselves in relation to these predators and megaherbivores. She will also survey vegetation and soil nutrients and make comparisons between reserves under varying wildlife regimes.
Prior to joining the University of Minnesota Lion Center, Sarah worked on prairie restorations in the Midwest, population genetics of co-evolved host species with their parasites, and rescue and rehabilitation of injured wildlife.
Jamee Snyder, Project Coordinator
Jamee graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2014 with a degree in Conservation Biology. She has held several unique jobs at the University of Minnesota, including working as a biodiversity analyst within the Department of Entomology and aiding the associate director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center as an administrative assistant. During her undergraduate degree, she participated in a Research Experience Undergraduate where she used historical data from the University of Minnesota's Insect Collection to analyze how aquatic insect distributions in Minnesota changed over time. Jamee is going to graduate school to study international development in fall of 2018. With this degree, Jamee hopes to aid in the development and implementation of livelihood programs that benefit both African communities and wildlife. Jamee is excited for the Lion Center's latest project, SnapshotSafari, because it considers multiple species in different environments, allowing researchers to ask species-specific questions, questions concerning how multiple species coexist, and the factors that contribute to ecosystem stability.