Sam Hyde Roberts

Thesis title: Behavioural ecology, adaptation and conservation of the Anosy mouse lemur (Microcebus tanosi) in the littoral forests of Sainte Luce, southeastern Madagascar

Start year: 2016


Supervisor(s): Professor Giuseppe Donati, Professor Vincent Nijman

Research topic

My study focuses on the broad socio-ecological character of the Anosy mouse lemur (Microcebus tanosi) in the extreme southeast of Madagascar. Although mouse lemurs have received a huge amount of research attention over the past few decades, the majority of works have focused largely on taxonomy and genetic processes. As a result, the number of recognised species has risen dramatically, from just 3 in the mid-1990’s to now 26. Given the rate of species discovery and the difficulties associated with studying small, nocturnal and highly mobile animals in the wild, there is a large lag in our ecological understanding, and little is known about many of the newly described, microendemic species. My study therefore represents a first thorough ecological investigation of M. tanosi, drawing on a range of important biological aspects, i.e. morphology, ranging behaviour, sleeping and nesting behaviours and population dynamics, in order to establish the social system, reproductive strategy and fundamental character of the species. There is now growing evidence for a great range of socio-ecological expression across the genus, and whilst all of these elements provide important theoretical insights into the flexibility of the genus, crucially they are also framed within a robust understanding of the underlying littoral forest ecology. Through careful morphological study, telemetric methods and observation, this study explores the inter-sexual and inter-individual relationships of the species, providing greater clarity on the specific mechanisms that give rise to the manifestation of particular social expressions. Based on over 6 years of work dedicated to the study of Madagascar’s southern littoral forests, the study further contextualises the findings within a conservation framework. Finally, this study provides a much-needed generalised conservation status update of the littoral forests of Sainte Luce, synthesising new population data and taxonomic information for a wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate taxa, and provides suggestions for future conservation initiatives.


Conservation, Lemur behavioural ecology, Madagascar, Mouse lemurs, Nocturnal primates, Population dynamics

General research interests

Biodiversity and conservation in Madagascar, Cryptic diversity, Mouse lemur biogeography and evolution, Primate ecology, adaptive strategies and social systems, Littoral forest ecology, Habitat restoration

Academic school / department

School of Law and Social Sciences


Work in progress

  • Hyde Roberts, S., Rossizela, T, J., Longosoa, H, T., Strang, K., Neaves, J., Chrmrova, L., Donati, G. (2020). Population dynamics of nocturnal lemurs in littoral forest fragments: The importance of long-term monitoring. In prep.
  • Hyde Roberts, S., Sannolo, M., Longosoa, H, T., Clark, R., Andreone, F., Cocca, W., Rosa, G. M., Crottini. (2020). A herpetological assessment of the littoral forests of Sainte Luce (southeastern Madagascar): Using genetic tools to ascertain the true identity of the area’s amphibians and reptiles. In prep.
  • Hyde Roberts, S., Rossizela, T, J., Racevska, E., Donati, G. (2020). Sociality of the Anosy mouse lemur (Microcebus tanosi) in the littoral forests of Sainte Luce, southeast Madagascar. In prep.

Publications/conference papers

  • Hyde Roberts, S., Harris, S., Guy, J. A., Rossizela, T, J., Rabehevitra, D. (2020). Palms on the brink. Conservation status of the Endangered palms Dypsis saintelucei and Beccariopheonix madagascariensis in the littoral forests of Sainte Luce, southeastern Madagascar. In press. PALMS. Vol 64 (4). Pp 177-190.
  • Hyde Roberts, S., Racevska, E., Donati, G. (2020). The natural re-colonisation of a littoral forest fragment by the Endangered red-collared brown lemur (Eulemur collaris) in southeast Madagascar. In Press. Lemur News 22. Pp 24-26.
  • Hyde Roberts, S., Barker, L., Chmurova, L., Dijkstra, K. D. B., & Schütte, K. (2019). Rediscovery of Libellulosoma minutum in the littoral forests of southeast Madagascar (Odonata: Corduliidae). Notulae odonatologicae, 9(4), 125-172.
  • Scherz, M. D., Hutter, C. R., Rakotoarison, A., Riemann, J. C., Rödel, M. O., Ndriantsoa, S. H., Glos, J., Hyde Roberts, S., Crotini, A., Vences, M., & Glaw, F. (2019). Morphological and ecological convergence at the lower size limit for vertebrates highlighted by five new miniaturised microhylid frog species from three different Madagascan genera. Plos one, 14(3), e0213314.
  • Feistner, A., T, C, Askew, J. A., Hyde Roberts, S., Radford, L., Williamson, E. A. 2018. Book Review; Folia Primatol. International Encyclopaedia of Primatology. 89:251-257.
  • Racevska, E., Hyde Roberts, S. (2018) Sexual Selection. In: Vonk J., Shackelford T. (eds) Encyclopaedia of Animal Cognition and Behaviour. Springer, Cham.
  • Bellati, A., Scherz, M. D., Megson, S., Hyde Roberts, S., Andreone, F., Rosa, G. M., Noël, J., Randrianirina, J. E., Fasola, M., Glaw, F., Crottini, A. (2018) Resurrection and re-description of Plethodontohyla laevis (Boettger, 1913) and transfer of Rhombophryne alluaudi (Mocquard, 1901) to the genus Plethodontohyla (Amphibia, Microhylidae, Cophylinae). Zoosystematics and Evolution Vol 94(1): 109-135.
  • Hyde Roberts, S., Jacobs, M, D., Clark, R. M., Daly, C. M., Longosoa, H, T., Rossizela, R. J., Prettyman, S. T. (2016) - A review of the known Pteropus rufus ( é . Geoffrey, 1803) colonies surrounding the Tolagnaro region of southeast Madagascar – An assessment of neoteric threats and conservation condition a decade on. Madagascar Conservation and Development. Vol 11(1).
  • Hyde Roberts, S., Daly, C. M. (2014) - A rapid herpetofaunal assessment of Nosy Komba Island, northwestern Madagascar, with new locality records for seventeen species. Salamandra. Vol 50 (1). Pp 18-26.
  • Hyde Roberts, S., Daly, C. M. (2014) - First record of Petter’s chameleon, Furcifer petteri (Brygoo & Domergue, 1966) from Nosy Be Island, Northwest Madagascar. Herpetology Notes. Vol 7: Pp 149-151.
  • Hyde Roberts, S., Daly, C. M. (2014) – A search for the missing Sportive Lemurs of Nosy Komba, northwestern Madagascar. Lemur News. Vol 18. Pp 13-15

Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Executive Conservation Coordinator – SEED Madagascar
  • Chair of Research and Conservation committee – SEED Madagascar
  • Lead Herpetologist – Operation Wallacea (Madagascar)

Further details

Academic and professional training

  • MSc Ecology – Bangor University 2010
  • BSc Zoology – Bangor University 2006