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Bryan Lenz (blenz@tulane.edu)



Primate distribution, behavior, and ecology in the fragmented landscape of the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, Manaus, Brazil. PhD dissertation, Tulane University.    


     My research focus is on the effects of habitat fragmentation on primate behavior, distribution, ecology, and habitat use and how this information might be used for the conservation management of both primate populations and the fragmented landscapes in which they reside.  More generally, I am also interested in all conservation issues, particularly tropical conservation.  I will be conducting my doctoral fieldwork in the Neotropics at the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project just north of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.  The tentative title of my dissertation is: Distribution, Behavior, and Ecology of Primates in a Fragmented Landscape (Para meus amigos Brasileiros: Distribuição, Comportamento, e Ecologia de Primatas numa Paisagem Fragmentada).

     In 2001 I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with my B.A. in Conservation Biology and a certificate (similar to a minor) in Environmental Studies.  I also received a M.Sc. in Primate Conservation from Oxford Brookes University in 2004, where I examined loud-call vocalizations (a.k.a. ‘roaring’) in black howler monkeys (Alouatta

pigra); my dissertation was titled: Roaring Behavior in the Black Howler Monkey (Alouatta pigra) at the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve, Belize.    In addition to my fieldwork at the Lamanai Reserve in Belize I have also worked at the Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Peru’s Manu Reserve, where I studied black spider monkeys (Ateles chamek), and most recently at Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica where I researched behavioral responses to habituation in the white-faced capuchin (Cebus capucinus).

Valerie Schoof (vschoof@tulane.edu)

Reproductive strategies of male white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) in Santa Rosa National Park, Area de Conservacion Guanacaste, Costa Rica, PhD dissertation, Tulane University.

    My research interests center around sexual selection theory; specifically, I am interested in reproductive strategies, mate choice and mating competition of primates (human and non-human). My doctoral research will focus on the reproductive strategies of male white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) in Santa Rosa National Park in Costa Rica. I will be studying male behavior and collecting fecal samples for testosterone and cortisol analyses. I am also hoping to analyze parasite load of the fecal samples to examine the effects of testosterone and dominance on immunocompetence (ie: number of species in fecal samples).

     I graduated from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. I had the opportunity to complete an undergraduate research project examining the relationship of male vocal attractiveness and a correlate of testosterone (2D:4D). I had been interested in sexual selection for some time, but this experience really focused my research interests on reproductive strategies. I really wanted to study non-human primates, but had no experience. I was extremely fortunate to be a summer intern at the Tulane National Primate Research Center after I graduated. Though I worked in a lab, I did have limited opportunity to interact with the primates at the research center. I returned to TNPRC one year later as an environmental enrichment research assistant. This position allowed me to learn some valuable behavioral observation and research skills. I was also fortunate to be able to take part-time graduate classes in the Anthropology Department at Tulane for one year, before beginning starting full-time studies in Fall 2005. Since this is when hurricane Katrina hit, I went back to my home town of Montreal (Quebec, Canada) where I studied with Dr. Colin Chapman at McGill University. Since, I’ve visited my field site twice, and am looking forward to going back to Costa Rica!

Claire Sheller (csheller@tulane.edu)

     Claire Sheller attended Appalachian State University from 2001-2005, during which time she traveled with the Anthropology department through Central America in order to study sustainable development. In addition she completed field school in coastal Ecuador, creating a mini-research project on mantled howler monkeys (alloutta palliata). Claire graduated with a B.S. in Anthropology with an interdisciplinary concentration on primate behavior, drawing from Biology, Psychology and Sociology. Shortly after leaving university, Claire traveled to Suriname to work as a research assistant for Dr. Sue Boinski of the University of Florida from May 2005 to May 2006. The long-term, NSF funded project in Raleighvallen (part of the Central Suriname Nature Reserve) focused not only on the behavioral ecology of brown capuchin monkeys (cebus apella), but also neo-tropical forest phenology, genetic diversity, behavioral endocrinology, and animal censusing. Upon returning to the U.S., Claire spent 5 months in Florida volunteering a new world monkey rehabiliation sanctuary called Jungle Friends Animal Sanctuary. While there she had the opportunity to work closely with brown, white-faced, white-fronted, and wedge-capped capuchins, as well as three species of spider monkey, two species of squirrel monkey, two species of marmoset, and two species of tamarin. She was responsible for dietary needs, maintenance and construction of indoor and outdoor enclosures, enrichment and socialization. Claire is currently working on a project with white-faced capuchin monkeys (cebus capucinus) for Dr. Katharine Jack in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica. She will be attending Tulane in the fall of 2007 and hopes to become a canidate for a PhD in Anthropology. Claire will most likely conduct her research on white-faced capuchin monkeys in Santa Rosa as well. She is most interested in the social behavior and development of infants and juveniles as well as behavioral endocrinology.

Kristen Ritchotte-Sardinha


    I graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2012 with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Biological Sciences. During my undergraduate years, I studied abroad in the Dominican Republic, attended field school at the Maderas Rainforset Conservancy in Nicaragua, assisted witha biodiversity and endemicity survey in southeastern Madagascar and interned in the Behavioral Department at Chimp Haven, Inc., the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary. I rekindled the University of Rhode Island Anthropology Society after a 15-year hiatus and was a founding member of the Alpha Rhode Island Chapter of Lambda Alpha, the National Anthropology Honor Society.   

     My research interests surround the physiological costs and benefits of male social dominance and the biological potential to become an alpha male. I will most likely be conducting my doctoral research on some aspect of these topics in white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) at Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica.

Lauren Brasington


Past students:  
Andrew Childers

2008 Childers, A. Spatial ecology of Costa Rican white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus): Socioecological and cognitive implications.MA Thesis, Tulane University.