Laura Loyola

Assistant Professor (Teaching) Spatial Sciences
Laura Loyola
Pronouns She / Her / Hers Email Office AHF B55C Office Phone (213) 740-5612


Laura C. Loyola, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Spatial Sciences and Director of Undergraduate Studies with the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Science.

Her research is in the behavioral ecology and conservation of the Tana River red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus). She investigates the behavioral observations and spatio-temporal analyses on the relationship between habitat quality and metabolizable energy for an endangered species in its natural habitat, which have consequences for wildlife conservation and forest management. She uses geographic information science (GIS) and remote sensing techniques to achieve applied conservation goals on a broad scale.

Read about her work to preserve the Tana River red colobus habitat in Kenya.

Her honors and awards include the 2013-2014 Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Merit Fellowship. She currently serves as a reviewer for the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) Geographic Information Science and Technology Body of Knowledge and served on the USC Dornsife College Faculty Council Curriculum Caucus.

She is a member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Sciences (SACNAS), the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, the Animal Behavioral Society, the International Society of Primatologists, the American Society of Primatologists, The Sierra Club, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and The Nature Conservancy.


  • Ph.D. Integrative and Evolutionary Biology, University of Southern California, 2015
  • BA Amherst College, 5/1998
  • NONE Rio Salado Comm Coll
  • NONE St Lawrence Univ
  • Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Lecturer, University of Southern California, 2015-08-15-
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    My research interests span the fields of Biological Anthropology, specifically Primatology, and Spatial Sciences. Within the fields of primatology, and conservation in general, I continue to research behavioral adaptations to habitat loss and habitat partitioning (by sympatric tortoise species in Madagascar). I am also interested in expanding the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) and high resolution imagery for vegetation analysis and species identification within the context of the decreasing riverine forests in Kenya. Additionally, Land Cover change analysis as an indicator of forest habitat quality and the impact of anthropogenic factors on forest loss in eastern Kenya is vital to understand human pressures and potential solutions to forest loss. These research interests can be summed into the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for conservation and management of endangered species, along side the sustainable development of these communities.

  • Journal Article

    • Loyola, L. C. (2019). Financial barriers to entering the primatological field: A brief commentary. International Journal of Primatology. pp. 1-3.
    • Coiner-Collier, S., Scott, R. S., Chalk, J., Cheyne, S. M., Constantino, P., Dominy, N. J., Elgar, A. A., Glowacka, H., Loyola, L. C., Ossi-Lupo, K., Raguet-Schofield, M., Talebi, M. G., Sala, E. A., Sieradzy, P., Taylor, A. B., Vineyard, C. J., Wright, B. W., Yamashita, N., Lucas, P. W., Vogel, E. R. (2016). Primate Dietary ecology in the context of food mechanical properties. Journal of Human Evolution. Vol. 98, pp. 103-118.

    Research Report

    • Kivai, S., Loyola, L. C., Mbora, D. N., Wieczkowski, J., de Jong, Y. A., King, J., Allen, L. V., Cronin, D. T., Ting, N., Butynski, T. (2019). Tana River Red Colobus. Primates in Peril: World’s 25 Most Endangered Primates, 2018-2020.


    • Loyola, L. C., Marx, A. J., Fleming, S. D. (2018). Combining Teaching, Partnerships, and Research in the field: Lessons learned from the Spatial Data Acquisition course (field excursion on Catalina Island). GIS-PRO & CalGIS 2018.
    • Loyola, L. C. (2018). Colobus behavioral flexibility in response to near and distant anthropogenic factors – contribution to evolutionary research. Nairobi. 27th Congress of the International Primatological Society.
    • Loyola, L. C., Moore, T., Turcotte, L. P., Delgado, R. A. (2016). The Tana River red colobus mediate seasonal variations in metabolizable energy intake through behavioral modifications. Chicago, IL. Joint Meeting of the International Primatological Society and American Society of Primatologists.
    • Loyola, L. C., Delgado, R. A. (2015). The Tana River red colobus (Procolobus rufomitratus) exhibit seasonal behavioral flexibility to changes in habitat quality: A longitudinal and spatial comparison of behavioral ecology. St. Louis, MO. 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.

    Technical Report

    • Kivai, S., Allen, L. V., Butynski, T. M., de Jong, Y. A., Loyola, L. C., Mbora, D. N., Ting, N. (2019). Tana River Red Colobus (P. rufomitratus). Red Colobus Conservation Action Plan (ReCAP) 2019-2021.
  • Office Hours

      Tuesdays/Wednesdays : 11:00am-12:00noon/ 2:00-3:00pm

    Other Advisement or Time Devoted to Students

    • As Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI) meet with new students in the various academic programs within SSI and advise on research, internships, and career pathways. Organize and moderate a variety of student programming such as resume workshops and guest speakers., 01/07/2018 –
    • Determining Habitat Partitioning by Tortoise Species in Madagascar through Geo-referenced Field Data and Remotely Sensed Data
      Madagascar and Los Angeles, CA, August 2017 – present
      Dr. Andrea Currylow, chief scientific review officer, Holohil Grant Program; ACEcological Research and Consulting; adjunct assistant (research) professor, USC (2017-2018), research ecologist, USGS (2019)
      Project Aim: To examine the relationships between habitat type and ranging patterns of six tortoise species to parse out confounding factors of habitat partitioning, including longitudinal changes in microhabitats and variations by age and sex class, seasonality, and captive-bred versus wild tortoises.
      Oversaw three (3) undergraduate research projects related to the larger project, one of which led to a poster presentation at the Esri User Conference, 2018 in San Diego, CA by Mia Poyner (USC ’19): A spatial analysis of habitat partitioning of two sympatric tortoise species: Pyxis arachnoids and Astrochelys radiate in Tranovaho, Madagascar, 2017-2018
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