My research currently focuses on the white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) in Santa Rosa National Park, Area de Conservacíon Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The Santa Rosa capuchin project was started by Dr. Linda Fedigan (University of Calgary) in 1983 and continues to this day. I joined the project in 1997, when I began my dissertation research on male-male relationships in white-faced capuchins. After a short hiatus from the site (see Ecuador research below), Dr. Fedigan invited me to re-join the project in 2005 so that we could work together to expand the number of capuchin groups under observation and take a population level approach to the study of this species. To this end, we habituated three additional study groups (for a total of 6 groups) and we plan to continue to habituate and individually identify members of neighboring groups over the next few years. We are also launching a collaborative park-wide population genetics study in collaboration with Dr. Shoji Kawamura (Tokyo University) and we will examine the genetics of individuals residing in several groups of capuchins located throughout the park, and two additional groups outside of the park. These data will provide us with important information on the kinship and dispersal distances that characterize this population.
In January 2007, several of my graduate students and I began an in-depth study examining the behavioral, genetic, and hormonal correlates of male-male relationships in three groups of wild white-faced capuchin monkeys in Santa Rosa. The results of this research will be combined with population genetics study, which will enable us to take a comparative look at male kinship within and among groups. The relationships among males residing together in groups vary widely across the Order Primates and this variability is not easily explained by current socioecological theory. My planned research in Santa Rosa will enable us to further our understanding of the dynamics of male dispersal in this species and will aid me in my goal of developing a theoretical model to explain the evolution of male-male relationships in primates.
My daughter Farren and I visiting the Cerdo de Piedra capuchins in 2007.
For more information:
Santa Rosa photo database (username: guest, password: guest)
Santa Rosa National Park (in Spanish)
Area de Conservación Guanacaste (in Spanish)
To learn more about the work of other primatologists working in Santa Rosa: