Julia Ruppell

Assistant Professor, Biology



UC Box: A121

Office: Strain 122D


PhD in Biology, Portland State University, Portland, OR in 2013.

MA in Biological Anthropology, Portland State University, Portland, OR  in 2007.

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Psychology, University of Rhode Island, in 2004.


              Julia Ruppell, PhD in Biology (2013) at Portland State University was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research in Laos during 2011-2012. Julia’s project focuses on the ecology and behavior of a little known and understudied ape, the white-cheeked crested gibbon. Crested gibbons are among the world’s most endangered mammals. The project involved engaging with communities and students in Laos, a region of high conservation priority due to its large number of endemic and endangered species. In addition to being a Fulbright fellow, Julia also received the Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship for her leadership work in Laos.

              Julia graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Anthropology and Psychology. After graduation, she decided to go backpacking in Thailand and Cambodia. She became fascinated with the cultural and biological diversity of the area. She soon went back and worked at a wildlife sanctuary for gibbons and other wildlife in Thailand where she had her first experience with gibbon research. She also learned some of the language and became acquainted with the issues of biodiversity conservation in the area. In 2005 she began her graduate course work in Anthropology at Portland State University. For her Master’s thesis she studied the vocal diversity, taxonomy, and conservation status of crested gibbons in Vietnam. While she worked in Vietnam she realized that conservation could not work without a strong effort to reach out and connect with the people who live in biodiversity hotspots.

             After Julia graduated with her Master’s degree, she began the Ph.D. program in Biology at Portland State University.  In addition to her work in Laos, she has worked with the Oregon Zoo on environmental enrichment for captive gibbons. The Oregon Zoo also funds her gibbon research in Laos through future for wildlife grants. Julia’s research has also been funded by Conservation International, The International Primatological Society, The Northwest Primatological Society, and Primate Conservation Inc. Julia taught Anatomy and Physiology at Portland Community College and as an adjunct in the Anthropology department at Portland State University before coming to Pacific University.


Professional Affiliations:
IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group: Laos
Wildlife Conservation Society
Wildlife Society Oregon Chapter
Oregon Zoo Research Associate
Gibbon Research Laboratory
American Society of Primatology
International Primatological Society
International Primate Protection League (IPPL)

Honors and Awards:
Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship (Sylff), 2012-2013
Fulbright Scholar 2011-2012, Laos
Kawase Scholarship for International Education, 2011-2012
Graduate Laurels Scholarship, 2011-2012, 2012-2013
Marie Brown Travel Award, Portland State University, 2011
Best Student Presentation, Wildlife Society Conference, 2011
Thomas M. Newman Scholarship, Portland State University Anthropology department, 2006
B.A. Cum Laude, University of Rhode Island, 2004

Published Works:
Rawson, B. and Ruppell. J. 2012. Northern White-cheeked crested gibbons. Nomascus leucogenys. In: All the World’s Primates. Eds. Noel Rowe and Marc Myers.

Rawson, B. and Ruppell. J. 2012. Southern White-cheeked crested gibbons. Nomascus siki. In: All the World’s Primates. Eds. Noel Rowe and Marc Myers.

McPherson Smith, C. and Ruppell, J. 2011 What Anthropologists should know about the New Evolutionary Synthesis. Structure and Dynamics: eJournal of Anthropological and Related Sciences

Ruppell, J. 2009. Vocal diversity and taxonomy of Nomascus in central Vietnam and southern Laos. International Journal of Primatology 31:1, 73-94.

Ruppell, J. 2008. The gibbons of Pu Mat National Park, Vietnam. Gibbon Journal 4.

Ruppell, J.2007. The gibbons of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam. Gibbon Journal 3.

Ruppell. J. 2007. Environmental Enrichment for captive animals: A playback experiment involving captive gibbons at the Oregon Zoo. The Gibbon’s Voice newsletter of the Gibbon Conservation Center.

Recent Presentations:
Ecology of Crested Gibbons
Wildlife Society, Hot Topics Session, February 2013
Animal Behavior course at Portland State University, February 2013
Portland Community College, November 2012
Fulbright scholars Southeast Asia Conference, Hanoi, March 2012
United States Embassy, Vientiane, March 2012
National University of Laos, January 2012
Wildlife Conservation Society, Laos, November 2011
Wildlife Society, February 2011
Conservation and Research in Laos
Oregon Zoo, January 2010
National University of Laos, April 2009
Crested gibbon taxonomy, ecology, and behavior
Research Symposium at Portland State University, November 2009
Poster at Portland State University Biology Alumni Event, October 2008
Oregon Zoo, May 2008
Flora and Fauna International, Hanoi, 2007
Environmental Enrichment for Gibbons
Vocal diversity and taxonomy of Nomascus
Poster Evolutionary Biologists of the Pacific Northwest conference, March 2008.
Poster at Portland State University Biology Alumni Event, October 2007.
Oregon Zoo, A.P.E. lecture series, May 2007.

Research Interests

Course Information

At Pacific University, all faculty teach a variety of different courses. Typically, we do not use graduate teaching assistants, which means that your classes will be taught by professors and that you will have plenty of opportunites to get to know the faculty in your discipline.

Below I have listed some of the courses that I teach. We are always developing and trying out new classes, so the list may change now and then. You can use the links to the left to read descriptions of the courses listed below.

Biol 224 Human Anatomy

Biol 360 Primatology

Biol 360 Primate Behavior

Biol 444 Evolution