Kevin Potts


Research interests:

I am a wildlife ecologist with broad interests in population dynamics, management, and conservation of wild mammals. In my research I take a quantitative approach to investigating habitat relationships in mammalian populations occupying landscapes under threat from natural and anthropogenic environmental change, and predicting responses of populations to these changes. I am also working on the development and modification of techniques to enable wildlife managers to efficiently monitor mammal populations and communities. My work is primarily field-based (with most field work taking place in Kibale National Park, Uganda) but also includes statistical modeling approaches.

Current research projects (students should feel free to contact me about possibilities for involvement in any of these projects):

  • Modeling the impact of various external threats on the population viability of chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda
  • Investigating the influence of spatiotemporal variation in plant nutritional quality on foraging dynamics and population density of chimpanzees in Kibale National Park.
  • Modeling biotic and abiotic factors influencing tree fruiting phenology patterns in Kibale National Park
  • Developing a protocol for monitoring coyote and red fox populations in Hennepin County, MN
  • Modeling the impact of ecological factors on movement and life history tradeoffs in Daphnia, a freshwater crustacean, inhabiting Minneapolis lakes

Previous fieldwork included projects on the recovery of tiger populations in China and monitoring the status of mammalian carnivores in the Lake Superior Basin.

Research website


  • Ph.D., Yale University, 2008
  • M. Phil., Yale University, 2004
  • B.A., University of Minnesota, 2002

Publications (send me an email if you would like a PDF copy of any of the papers listed here)

Potts KB, Baken E, Ortmann S, Watts DP, and Wrangham RW. Submitted. Variability in population density is paralleled by large differences in foraging efficiency in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Oecologica.

Potts KB and Lwanga JS. In press. Floristic heterogeneity at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda and possible implications for habitat use by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). African Journal of Ecology.

Bortolamiol S, Cohen M, Potts K, Pennec F, Rwaburindore P, Kasenene J, Seguya A, Vignaud Q, and Krief S. 2014. Suitable habitats for endangered frugivorous mammals: small-scale comparison, regeneration forest and chimpanzee density in Kibale National Park, Uganda. PLoS One 9: e102177.

Potts KB. 2013. Nutritional ecology and reproductive output in female chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes): variation among and within populations. In: Building Babies: Primate Development in Proximate and Ultimate Perspectives (Hinde K, Clancy K, and Rutherford J, eds). Springer, New York, pp. 83-100.

Gruber T, Potts KB, Krupenye C, Byrne M, Mackworth-Young C, McGrew W, Zuberbühler K, and Reynolds V. 2012. The influence of ecology on chimpanzee cultural behaviour. Journal of Comparative Psychology 126: 446-457.

Watts DP, Potts KB, Lwanga JS, and Mitani JC. 2012. Diet of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda, 1: Diet composition and diversity. American Journal of Primatology 74: 114-129.

Watts DP, Potts KB, Lwanga JS, and Mitani JC. 2012. Diet of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda, 2: temporal variation and fallback foods. American Journal of Primatology 74: 130-144.

Kapfer PM and Potts KB. 2012. Socioeconomic and ecological correlates of bobcat harvest in Minnesota. Journal of Wildlife Management 76: 237-242.

Potts KB. Watts DP, Wrangham RW. 2011. Comparative feeding ecology of two communities of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) in Kibale National Park, Uganda. International Journal of Primatology 32: 669-690.

Potts KB. 2011. The long-term influence of timber harvesting on the resource base of chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda. Biotropica 43: 256-264.

Moen R, Potts K, and Gilbert J. 2011. Status of mammalian carnivores and evaluation of monitoring techniques in the Lake Superior basin. Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota Duluth technical report NRRI/TR-2010-02.

Hohmann G, Potts KB, N’Guessan A, Fowler A, Sommer V, Mundry R, Ganzhorn J, and Ortmann S. 2010. Plant foods consumed by Pan: exploring the variation of nutritional quality across Africa. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 141: 476-485.

Potts KB, Chapman CA, and Lwanga JS. 2009. Floristic heterogeneity between forested sites in Kibale National Park, Uganda: insights into the fine-scale determinants of density in a large-bodied frugivorous primate. Journal of Animal Ecology 78: 1269-1277.

Emery Thompson M, Muller MN, Wrangham RW, Lwanga JS, and Potts KB. 2009. Urinary C-peptide tracks seasonal and individual variation in energy balance in wild chimpanzees. Hormones and Behavior 55, 299-305.

Book reviews:

Potts KB. 2010. In search of the “real” chimpanzee: review of “The Real Chimpanzee: Sex Strategies in the Forest”, by Christophe Boesch (Cambridge University Press, 2009). Journal of Mammalian Evolution 17, 221-222.



Kevin Potts


Science Hall 114A
CB 37