From mid-May to the end of June I'm working at the Amboseli Baboon Research Project's field site in Kenya to collect data for my PhD. For this project we're testing whether the strength of a baboon's social relationships determines how efficiently they get food.
While here I will conduct intensive focal sampling, help to get some new GPS collars on individuals in our study groups, and take lots of photos of baby baboons!
Happy to announce the final version of my MSc thesis has been accepted. In my thesis entitled "Determinants of Primate Diversity with Implications for Comparative Biology and Conservation", I delve into the complex determinants of species richness and diversity across primate clades. I find that more behaviourally flexible clades (i.e. those that are able to readily change their behaviour) diversify more quickly than less flexible clades, and that recent increases in described primates species numbers are not driven by biological processes (i.e. diversification rate) or human imposed bias (i.e. research effort).
Tune in this week to the Animal Behavior Society virtual conference to see my prerecorded talk:"Does behavioural plasticity promote primate diversification".
My talk will be available in the "Genetics & Evolution"section of the parallel talks and you can tune in live to ask me questions Friday, July 31st at 4:00pmET.
This past week our field guide to "Foods eaten by the Endangered Geoffroy's spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi)" was published on the Field Museum website. This guide includes 79 of the 111 different plant species consumed by Geoffroy’s spider monkeys in the Osa Peninsula. This straightforward guide makes it easy to incorporate these plants into restoration initiatives and serves as a simple tool for identifying plant species in future studies of Geoffroy’s spider monkey behaviour and ecology.
Download the full guide here.
I spent the last week at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. While away I worked with collaborator Dr. Arne Mooers and his lab to learn evolutionary analysis techniques relevant to the first chapter of my thesis.
The Reader Lab hosted the annual SQEBC animal behaviour conference from November 1st to 3rd at McGill. At the conference I presented preliminary results from the second chapter of my MSc thesis. This chapter looks at the influence of the Phylogenetic Species Concept in primate taxonomy and conservation.
Check out our awesome poster designed by Raina Fan:
I recently spent the summer working with Osa Conservation, an NGO based in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. We are working to create a field guide of plant species eaten by the endangered Geoffroy's Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) in Costa Rica. I spent a lot of my time chasing spider monkeys through the forest but we left some time for other adventures. I even had time to come in third place (women's division) in the annual Lapathon Jungle Run 10km!