Brandt Work Top Cited Article in Journal for 2022

Man and woman standing at sign.

(Dr. LaRoy Brandt, right, pictured with article co-author Dr. Laura Bolt.)


Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) faculty member Dr. LaRoy Brandt, associate professor of conservation biology and director of the Cumberland Mountain Research Center, helped author an article that was published in the “American Journal of Primatology” which was recognized as the top cited article for the journal in 2022.

The article is titled “Maderas Rainforest Conservancy: A One Health Approach to Conservation.” The Maderas Rainforest Conservancy (MRC) is a conservation nonprofit organization that manages two sites where biological field courses have been offered since the 1990s: LaSuerte Biological Research Station in Costa Rica and Ometepe Biological Research Station in Nicaragua. The article covers many different topics of interest.

“Although the interdisciplinary nature of this article is not new, in fact, the general idea of trying to include all aspects of an ecosystem including humans is a basic tenet of ecology and conservation, this article takes advantage of a current interdisciplinary effort that is being taught with veterinary and human medicine as well as applied ecology, environmental health, primatology and many, many disciplines,” Brandt said. “This interdisciplinary effort is known as One Health which incorporates human health, animal health and the health of the environment. Our article helps emphasize the need for us to consider what it means to have a healthy ecosystem when we want to emphasize one-health efforts. In my opinion, it's the emphasis on trying to measure the health of an ecosystem that will give this article longevity as it is one of the few places where under the One Health umbrella, the health of the environment is emphasized for its own sake and not just for the sake of humans and domesticated animals.”

Brandt joined the LMU faculty in 2016 and has been affiliated with the MRC for 17 years, traveling to both research stations since 2006. While with the MRC he has taught many field courses including Tropical Herpetology, Tropical Entomology, Rainforest Ecology, and Photography for the Field Biologist.

“During this time I have integrated research into all of my field courses and I have also conducted additional independent research primarily at LaSuerte,” said Brandt. “The main thing that drew me to MRC is all of their efforts to conduct conservation, provide education and to support the communities. And, I get to help do this in the middle of a rainforest – I get to live in the rainforest and see animals that people only dream of or only see in zoos and nature shows.”

He became a board member for MRC in 2010, where he serves as an ecological advisor to MRC and the management of the field stations in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. In that capacity he also serves as a data archivist for all the researchers and course instructors. Brandt is currently writing a research paper that discusses the details of the wildlife and the changes that have occurred over the past 10-12 years.

“In the past five years, I have also helped MRC to work with both the neighboring private landowners surrounding LaSuerte on trying to catch poachers illegally hunting wildlife,” he said. “These community efforts have also led to a project with the Costa Rican government agencies to develop a biological corridor with the aid of private landowners that will connect the Braulio Carrillo National Park in the Central Mountain Range to the Tortuguerro National Park along the northeast Caribbean coast. This corridor will pass through the MRC LaSuerte Biological Research Station.”

Brandt’s work with the MRC is long-term, with the corridor project estimated to take another 20 years to complete. During his time with the MRC he has provided opportunities for 10 LMU students to travel with him and conduct research in the rainforest, with more students expected to participate in the future.

“One thing’s for certain, I feel at home most in the rainforest with students,” he said. “I love it and I have now been able to not only share it with students, but my wife and I have a tradition to take our grandchildren to LaSuerte for their thirteenth birthdays.”

The MRC operates from a One Health perspective, engaging in forest restoration and ecological monitoring projects, and has gradually expanded community outreach initiatives. According to the article, it now conducts regular medical and veterinary missions in the communities surrounding the research stations which provide health care to local people and limit the population growth of domestic animals, thereby increasing the survival of wild animals.

“MRC's support of research, commitment to education, medical and veterinary missions, and outreach initiatives to the local community all work together for the well-being of both the people and the environment, thus exemplifying the One Health perspective,” the article states.

Brandt co-authored the article with Dr. Laura Bolt, an instructor at the MRC, Renee Molina, MRC director and Amy Schreier, MRC instructor.  

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or email at

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