EDGE Community

Dr Mitchell Irwin
  • Researcher
[General description section]
After completing a B.Sc. Honours at the University of Toronto (Physical Anthropology and Zoology), i enrolled on a PhD programme in Anthropological Sciences (Stony Brook University) studying Propithecus diadema at Tsinjoarivo, Madagascar. I am currently a NSERC-funded postdoctoral fellow working in the Department of Biology at McGill University, under the supervision of Dr. Colin Chapman. I am following up on several unanswered questions generated during my Ph.D. research at Stony Brook University. That research documented the shifts in diet, ranging and spatial ecology that sifakas undergo in forest fragments, but changes in nutritional ecology and the prevalence of disease and parasitism remain unexplored. It is these two aspects of the system that I am currently investigating.
McGill University
Position within organisation
Postdoctoral Fellow

Mitchell founded the research project in 2000 working with a Malagasy student, Jean-Luc Raharison. Since 2003, Mr. Raharison has been co-Principal Investigator and co-ordinates project activities within Madagascar while working on his PhD.

Relevant species

Considered to be one of the rarest of Madagascar's lemurs. No part of its range is protected.

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Research interests
Ecology, Primatology, Forest Fragmentation, Conservation
Relevant publications
Irwin MT (in press) A review of the parasites of the lemurs of Madagascar. In: Companion and Exotic Animal Parasitology (D. D. Bowman, ed.). Ithaca, NY: International Veterinary Information Service.

Irwin MT (2007) Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema ) ranging and habitat use in continuous and fragmented forest: Higher density but lower viability in fragments? Biotropica 40(2). DOI 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2007.00368.x.

Irwin MT (2007) Feeding ecology of diademed sifakas (Propithecus diadema ) in forest fragments and continuous forest. International Journal of Primatology 29(1). DOI 10.1007/s10764-007-9222-9.

Johnson SE, Lei R, Martin SK, Irwin MT, Louis EE (2007) Does Eulemur cinereiceps exist? Preliminary evidence from genetics and ground surveys in southeastern Madagascar. American Journal of Primatology. DOI 10.1002/ajp.20501.

Godfrey LR, Irwin MT (2007) The evolution of extinction risk: Past and present anthropogenic impacts on the primate communities of Madagascar. Folia Primatologica 78:405-419.

Godfrey LR, Jungers WL, Schwartz GT, Irwin MT (2007) Ghosts and orphans: Madagascar’s vanishing ecosystems. In: Elwyn L. Simons: A Search For Origins (J.G. Fleagle, C.C. Gilbert, eds.). New York: Springer, pp. 361-395.

Irwin MT (2007) Living in forest fragments reduces group cohesion in diademed sifakas (Propithecus diadema ) in eastern Madagascar, by reducing food patch size. American Journal of Primatology 69:434-447.

Irwin MT, Raharison JL, Rakotoarimanana H, Razanadrakoto E, Ranaivoson E, Rakotofanala J, Randrianarimanana C (2007) Diademed sifakas (Propithecus diadema ) use olfaction to forage for the inflorescences of subterranean parasitic plants (Balanophoraceae: Langsdorffia sp., and Cytinaceae: Cytinus sp.). American Journal of Primatology 69:471-476.

Irwin MT (2006) Ecologically enigmatic lemurs: The sifakas of the eastern forests (Propithecus candidus, P. diadema, P. edwardsi, P. perrieri and P. tattersalli ). In: Lemurs: Ecology and Adaptation (L. Gould & M. Sauther, eds.). New York: Springer, pp. 305-326.

Irwin MT, Johnson SE, Wright PC (2005) The state of lemur conservation in southeastern Madagascar: Population and habitat assessments for diurnal and cathemeral lemurs using surveys, satellite imagery and GIS. Oryx 39:204-218.

Irwin MT, Samonds KE, Raharison JL, Wright PC (2004) Lemur latrines: Observations of latrine behavior in wild primates and possible ecological significance. Journal of Mammalogy 85:420-427.

Irwin MT, Ravelomanantsoa HV (2004) Illegal rum production threatens health of lemur populations at Tsinjoarivo, eastern central Madagascar: Brief report and request for information. Lemur News 9:16-17.

Godfrey, LR, Samonds KE, Jungers WL, Sutherland MR, Irwin MT (2004) Ontogenetic correlates of diet in Malagasy lemurs. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 123:250-276.

Irwin MT, Samonds KE (2002) Range extension of the Madagascar Red Owl (Tyto soumagnei ) in Madagascar: The case of a rare, widespread species? Ibis 144:680-683.

Irwin MT, Samonds KE, Raharison JL (2001) A biological inventory of the lemur community of Réserve Spéciale de Kalambatritra, south-central Madagascar. Lemur News 6:24-28.

Irwin MT, Smith TM, Wright PC (2000) Census of three eastern rainforest sites north of Ranomafana National Park: Preliminary results and implications for lemur conservation. Lemur News 5:20-22.

Wright PC, Johnson SE, Irwin MT, Jacobs R, Schlichting PE, Lehman SM, Louis EE, Arrigo-Nelson SJ, Raharison JL, Rafalirarison RR, Razafindratsita V, Ratsimbazafy J, Ratelolahy FJ, Feistner ATC, Tan C (submitted) The crisis of the critically endangered greater bamboo lemur (Prolemur simus ). Primate Conservation.
Department of Biology, McGill University
1205 Docteur Penfield Avenue
Montreal, Quebec
(514) 398-5421 / fax (514) 398-1643
Email: mitchell.irwin@mcgill.ca