News & Events

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Summer 2017

Dr. Christina Campbell

DANTA and Osa Conservation are delighted to announce that Dr. Karen Strier will guest lecture in our summer 2017 Primate Behavior and Conservation course to be held in the spectacular Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Karen B. Strier is Vilas Research Professor and Irven DeVore Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduating from Swarthmore College in 1980, she received her MA in 1981 and her PhD in 1986 in Anthropology from Harvard University. She is an international authority on the endangered northern muriqui monkey, which she has been studying in the Brazilian Atlantic forest since 1982. Her pioneering, long-term field research has been critical to conservation efforts on behalf of this species, and has been influential in broadening comparative perspectives on primate behavioral and ecological diversity. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was elected to membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. She received an Honorary Degree (Doctorate of Science) from the University of Chicago, and Distinguished Primatologist Awards from the American Primatological Society and the Midwestern Primate Interest Group. She has been awarded various research, teaching, and service awards from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has also been honored with Lifetime Honorary Memberships from the Brazilian Primatological Society and the Latin American Primatological Society, and with Honorary Citizenship of the city of Caratinga, in Minas Gerais, Brazil. She has authored or co-authored more than 100 publications, in addition to various co-authored and edited volumes and two single-authored books, Faces in the Forest: The Endangered Muriqui Monkeys of Brazil and Primate Behavioral Ecology, 5th edition. She was recently elected as the President of the International Primatological Society (2016-2020).

Summer 2016

Dr. Christina Campbell

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Christina Campbell will guest lecture in our summer 2016 Primate Behavior and Conservation course to be held in the spectacular Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Originally from Christchurch, New Zealand Dr. Campbell is an Associate professor of Anthropology at California State University — Northridge. Her undergraduate degree in Zoology is from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and her PhD, in Anthropology, is from the University of California — Berkeley. She is a biological anthropologist specializing in New World primates, with an ongoing research project in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute site of Barro Colorado Island. Her research examines the reproductive biology, behavioral ecology and the evolution of alcoholism among spider monkeys. An internationally known expert on spider monkeys, Dr. Campbell is the senior editor of Primates in Perspective, a college-level textbook that won the 2007 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title, an honor granted by the American Library Association to books that make exceptional contributions to undergraduate education. She is the sole editor of “Spider Monkeys: Behavior, Ecology and Evolution of the Genus Ateles”, and has multiple peer reviewed articles on spider monkey behavioral ecology and reproductive biology in leading journals. In her spare time, Dr. Campbell enjoys playing the sport of Netball and horse back riding.

Summer 2015

Dr. William C. McGrew

We are thrilled to announce that Dr. William C. McGrew will lecture in our summer 2015 Primate Behavior and Conservation course in the spectacular Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Course dates are June 15 – July 10, 2015.

William C. McGrew is Emeritus Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, in the Division of Biological Anthropology, Dept. of Archaeology & Anthropology, University of Cambridge. His most recent single-authored book was The Cultured Chimpanzee: Reflections on Cultural Primatology (Cambridge University Press, 2004). His latest book, co-authored with Japanese primatological colleagues, is Chimpanzee Behavior in the Wild: An Audio-Visual Encyclopedia (Springer, 2010). He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Since 1972, Prof. McGrew mostly has studied wild primates in Africa, especially chimpanzees from Senegal to Tanzania, but he has published on 15 other species too. Topics of research include elementary technology, extractive foraging, cultural primatology, insectivory, manual laterality, ecological parasitology, locomotion, and primate archaeology. He has over 200 articles in scientific journals or book chapters. His most recent field work was in August, 2014, at Serra da Capivara National Park, Brazil, on bearded capuchin monkeys.

Primate Connections Calendars are now available!

Primate Connections Calendar

Wanting a special gift for yourself, friends and/or family that supports primate conservation? Primate Connections 2015 Calendars are here and they are gorgeous!

Proceeds help raise awareness and support conservation initiatives in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Under the creative direction and inspiration of Corrin LaCombe, zoos, societies, 13 primate conservation organizations, independent photographers, graphic designers and marketers came together to make this project possible.

People helping people do great things! The price is $12. Click here to place an order. Quantity limited.

Winter 2015

Daniela Solano Rojas

DANTA is delighted to announce that Daniela Solano will lecture in our winter session 2015 Methods in Primate Behavior and Conservation field course in Costa Rica.

Daniela is the founder and President of Saimiri Foundation, a NGO with the aim to protect Costa Rica´s biodiversity, especially Osa Peninsula´s primates. She is a biologist with a Masters in Wildlife Management and Conservation. She arrived in the Osa Peninsula in 2004-2005 to study the landscape habitat of squirrel monkeys (Saimiri oerstedii), and since has fallen in love with the rainforest paradise and remained working for its conservation. Just prior, she worked for The Nature Conservancy in their former Osa Program. Currently, she is an Empowering Sustainability Fellow at the University of California, Irvine. Her area of interest is primate conservation, especially their status outside of protected areas, where they are threatened by habitat destruction and human activity.

Dr. Janette Wallis

Summer 2014

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Janette Wallis will guest lecture in our summer 2014 Primate Behavior and Conservation course. Janette received her Ph.D. in an interdisciplinary planned program, which combined zoology, psychology, and anthropology, from the University of Oklahoma. She currently teaches wildlife conservation courses for the University of Oklahoma and biology courses for the University of Central Oklahoma. Dr. Wallis is the Vice President for Conservation for the International Primatological Society and serves as co-Vice Chair of the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group’s Africa Section. She has recently become the Editor-in-Chief of African Primates, a Primate Specialist Group journal. She served as the Coordinator for Chimpanzee Research at Gombe Stream Research Centre (Tanzania) from 1990-1994 and the Director of Behavioral Research at the University of Oklahoma’ El Reno Science Park from 1998-2003. She was a founding faculty member of the American University of Nigeria (2005-2009), establishing the country’s first program on natural science and conservation biology. She is the Director of the Kasokwa Forest Project, a small forest fragment in Uganda that is home to chimpanzees, baboons, and several other wildlife species. Research at the site focuses on behavioral ecology, reproduction, conservation, and human-wildlife interactions.

Winter 2013 - 2014

Dr. Benjamin Freed

DANTA is delighted to announce that Dr. Benjamin Freed will guest lecture in our new Methods in Primate Behavior and Conservation course.

Benjamin Freed received his PhD in Anthropology from Washington University, St. Louis in 1996, and taught at Emory University for ten years before becoming an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, KY, in 2008. Since 1989, he has conducted field work in northern Madagascar. His research interests include primate community ecology and social organization, especially of rare and endangered species of lemurs. He has recently become more focused on ethnoprimatological aspects of primate ecology and conservation in both primary and secondary forests. He works in Mt. d'Ambre National Park and has surveyed for primates extensively in the far north of Madagascar. Freed believes that primate evolution and ecology to be integral to understanding primate conservation. He has worked with cultural anthropologists and Malagasy faculty and students to understand more about the impact of history on primate behavior and ecology.

Summer 2013

Dr. Marilyn Norconk

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Marilyn Norconk will guest lecture in our summer 2013 Primate Behavior and Conservation course in Costa Rica. Course dates are June 4 - June 30, 2013. Please visit us at www.danta.info or email conservation@danta.infoconservation@danta.info for more information.

Marilyn Norconk received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and took a faculty position at Kent State University in Kent, OH, in 1992. She is currently professor of anthropology at Kent State University and president-elect of the American Society of Primatologists. She has conducted field work in Peru, Venezuela and Suriname for more than 20 years. Her research interests are diverse, but focus on the evolution of primate feeding strategies, particularly seed predation in saki monkeys. She has also been interested in social strategies (group size and territorial behavior), the evolution of sexual dichromatism in sakis, the maintenance of primate communities (seed dispersers and seed predators), and the effects of gold mining on tropical habitats. She currently works at two field sites in Suriname, Brownsberg Nature Park and Bergendal. Norconk considers field work for both graduate and undergraduate students as critical to the future of primatology and the education of all interested people critical to the survival of wild habitats.

New course offering, Rain Forest and Wildlife Conservation, led by Dr. Thomas Struhsaker.

Winter 2011/2012

Dr. ZuberbuhlerWe are thrilled to announce that Dr. Klaus Zuberbühler will lecture in the Primate Behavior and Conservation course! Klaus Zuberbühler, PhD, is a Comparative Psychologist and Professor of Psychology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland (UK). His main research interest is in human and non-human primate cognition and communication. Most of his research is with free-ranging primates in their natural habitats. Klaus was born and educated in Switzerland where he graduated with a degree in Zoology from the University of Zurich in 1993. He then moved to the US for his doctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1998 he got his Ph.D. in Psychology for research on monkey vocal communication in the Tai Forest, Ivory Coast, which was supervised by Robert Seyfarth and Dorothy Cheney. He then moved to Leipzig, Germany, to work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Michael Tomasello’s department. In 2001, he got a position as a lecturer at the School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, his current affiliation.

Summer 2011
Our Visiting Professors:

Katie SlocombeKatie Slocombe, PhD, is a comparative psychologist and lecturer at the University of York, UK. Her main research interests are primate communication and cognition, with a special interest in chimpanzee vocal communication. She has conducted research with both wild and captive populations to answer research questions of interest. Katie obtained her BSc Psychology degree from the University of Nottingham (UK), before undertaking a PhD in chimpanzee vocal communication, supervised by Klaus Zuberbühler at the University of St Andrews (UK). Katie continued to work with chimpanzee populations in Uganda and Leipzig, Germany during her post-doc position at St Andrews. In 2007 Katie joined the Psychology department at the University of York as a lecturer, where she is now building her own research group.

Suzanne StraitSuzanne Strait received her Ph.D in physical anthropology from SUNY Stony Brook in 1993 and isnow a Professor of Biology at Marshall University. Her research focuses on feeding behavior, dental functional morphology, and reconstructing diet in the fossil record. In addition to substantial paleontological field work she has studied howling monkeys in Costa Rica and lemurs in Madagascar.

Daniela Solano RojasDaniela Solano Rojas is founder of Saimiri Foundation, a NGO with the aim to protect Costa Rican natural resources and particularly the primates of the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. She received her BSc in Biology in 2003 from the University of Costa Rica, and her MSc in Conservation and Wildlife Management in 2007 from the National University. Her thesis work focused on habitat and landscape use of squirrel monkeys, Saimiri oerstedii oerstedii, outside of protected areas in the Osa Peninsula. She has served as a conservation specialist for The Nature Conservancy’s Osa Program and is currently Vice-President of the Osa Conservation Area Regional Council sponsored by the Corcovado Foundation.

Summer 2010

Peter SlaterDr. Joseph Manson

Professor Peter Slater Guest Lectures in the Tropical Ornithology Course:

Peter Slater completed his B.Sc. in Zoology at the University of Edinburgh in 1964 and went on complete a PhD there in 1968 on the reproductive behavior of Bengalese finches. He took up a Lectureship in Biology at the University of Sussex in the same year and taught there for 16 years, during which time his research was largely concerned with the temporal patterning of behavior. In 1984 he was appointed to the Kennedy Chair of Natural History at the University of St Andrews, and occupied this until 2008 when he was accorded Emeritus status. For the past 30 years his research has been primarily on various aspects of song in birds, in both the laboratory and the field, with studies on vocal learning in particular. Recently, in collaboration with a series of students, this work has been extended to studies of marine mammal vocal behavior. He is an author of over 130 papers and has written several books including, with Clive Catchpole, Bird Song: Biological Themes and Variations (Cambridge, 2nd edn. 2008). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a past-President and medalist of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. For 16 years he was Executive Editor of Advances in the Study of Behavior (Elsevier, San Diego).

Winter 2009/2010

Dr. Kathy Schick and Dr. Nicolas Toth will guest lecture in the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course.

Kathy SchickKathy Schick is co-director of the Stone Age Institute. She received her Ph.D. in 1984 from The University of California at Berkeley. Her interests in Old World prehistory, palaeoanthropology, archaeological site formation, zooarchaeology, lithic technology, and primate studies have led her to conduct fieldwork in Africa, Asia and Europe, as well as laboratory research in the United States. She was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004, and received the Distinguished Faculty Research Award from Indiana University in 1997.

Nicolas TothNicolas Toth is co-director of the Stone Age Institue. He received his Ph.D. in 1982 for The University of California at Berkeley. His research interests include African prehistory, palaeolithic studies, the evolution of human intelligence, lithic technology, experimental archaeology, microscopic approaches to archaeology, zooarchaeology, ethnoarchaeology, and primate studies. He is currently involved in experimental investigations of stone tool-making and tool-using behaviors of modern African apes and of the manufacture and use of early Palaeolithic tools. Dr. Toth was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004.

Summer 2009

Dr. Susan Perry and Dr. Joseph Manson Guest Lecture in the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course

Susan Perry received her BA in Anthropology from Washington University, where she studied captive primates for her honors thesis. When she was a Masters student at the University of Michigan, she did her first primatology fieldwork on mate choice in rhesus macaques at Cayo Santiago. For her PhD research (also at U of M), she started a new field site in Costa Rica, Lomas Barbudal, where she began investigating social relationships and social intelligence in white-faced capuchin monkeys. During her postdoctoral work at University of Alberta, she established collaborations with several other capuchin researchers and initiated the capuchin traditions project. She continued to develop Lomas Barbudal as a study site when she accepted a permanent teaching position at UCLA. In 2001-2006 she took a leave of absence from UCLA to be director of the Cultural Phylogeny group at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. The Lomas Barbudal Monkey Project is in its 19th year of research, and continues to focus on topics such as relationship dynamics, social development, traditions and social learning, communication, mating strategies, and life histories. Perry is co-editor (with D. Fragaszy) of The Biology of Traditions: Models and Evidence, and co-author (with J. Manson) of Manipulative Monkeys: The Capuchins of Lomas Barbudal, which describes the first 15 years of research at the site.

Joseph H. Manson did his first field study of primate behavior in 1987-89, studying female mate choice among the free-ranging rhesus monkeys of Cayo Santiago, a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. Beginning in 1991, he worked with Susan Perry studying social behavior in wild white-faced capuchin monkeys at Lomas Barbudal, Costa Rica. Now a Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. Manson has collected, analyzed and published data on a variety of aspects of capuchin behavior, including female-female grooming and dominance relationships; females interest in infants other than their own; sexual behavior; reconciliation; and self-directed behavior (scratching and self-grooming) as a measure of stress.

Monkey Bridge ProjectDANTA and the Monkey Bridge Project take out the trash and reforest Talamanca

DANTA and the Monkey Bridge Project provided an enormous service to the Talamanca region by cleaning up the area recycling center and aiding reforestation efforts this past July. Recicaribe, the Puerto Viejo recycling organization, was temporarily closed last spring due to management problems. The stop service order was a major setback to local residents who had helped to organize, and depended upon, Recicaribe to collect their recyclable goods. In order to reopen, Recicaribe needed a complete overhaul that included the removal of mounds of non-recyclable material. DANTA student volunteers arrived on the scene in late July to help remedy this problem. Amazingly, they managed to bag and remove an impressive amount of trash within a single morning! Recicaribe reopened its doors this August to the Puerto Viejo community thanks in large part to the hard work of volunteers.

Monkey Bridge ProjectAside from cleaning up Recicaribe, students contributed to regional reforestation efforts. DANTA students weeded and reorganized the seedling collection at the Talamanca-Caribe Biological Corridor nursery. This important stock of trees is used to reforest former crop and pasture land in the Talamanca region. In yet another reforestation project, students planted seedlings from the Vivero nursery in a block of regenerating forest maintained by the Hotel Punta Cocles.

Event organizers Alaine Berg, ATEC director, and Rachel Killian, Monkey Bridge Project research assistant, helped DANTA and the Monkey Bridge Project contribute to the conservation community in Talamanca. A warm thanks to everyone that participated!

Winter 2008/2009


DANTA students “spruce up” Manzanillo’s beach

January 9, 2009 – Students of the DANTA Winter 2008-2009 Primate Behavior and Conservation field school visited the coastal region of Talamanca County, Costa Rica to participate in community conservation. This tradition, known as the DANTA Volunteer Days, began in June 2006 as a partnership with The Monkey Bridge Project in order to enhance local conservation and management activities while giving students hands-on experience with wildlife conservation projects.

Last November, the Talamanca region suffered severe flooding and landslides, which resulted in widespread damage to several communities. For this reason, we focused our efforts on cleaning and replanting along the small coastal town of Manzanillo. Over the course of the day, we planted approximately 145 seedlings commonly found within the low shrub and tree zones of the Caribbean coast (coconut palm, sea grape, beach almond), removed trash littering the beach, and repaired barriers to prevent motorists from driving over and damaging coastal vegetation.

In addition to the wonderful help from DANTA students, several individuals and groups from the area helped to coordinate this event, especially Alaine and the Talamancan Association of Ecotourism and Conservation (ATEC), Christina Orr, Denis, Watcho, and Crystal and Rose. Many thanks to everyone that contributed!

Follow this link to the ATEC website in order to learn more about flood relief efforts in Talamanca: http://www.ateccr.org.

Dr. Agustin Fuentes will lecture in the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course Biological Field Station, Costa Rica!

Dr. Agustin FuentesDr. Fuentes completed a B.A. in Zoology and Anthropology, and an M.A.& Ph.D.in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. He taught in the department of Anthropology and directed the Primate Behavior and Ecology Program at Central Washington University from 1996-2002, and is currently the Nancy O’Neill Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. His research and teaching interests include the evolution of social complexity in human and primate societies, cooperation and conflict negotiation across primates, including humans, and reproductive behavior and ecology. He is also interested in issues of human-nonhuman primate interactions, disease and pathogen transfer. Fuentes recent published work includes the books: Core Concepts in Biological Anthropology (McGraw-Hill) and Primates in Perspective (co-edited, Oxford University Press) and articles such as “It’s Not All Sex and Violence: Integrated Anthropology and the Role of Cooperation and Social Complexity in Human Evolution” and “The humanity of animals and the animality of humans: A view from biological anthropology” inspired by J.M. Coetzees, Elizabeth Costello in the American Anthropologist, and “Human culture and monkey behavior: Assessing the contexts of potential pathogen transmission between macaques and humans” in the American Journal of Primatology. His current research projects include assessing behavior, ecology, and pathogen transmission in human-monkey interactions in Asia and Gibraltar and examining the roles of cooperation, social negotiation, and patterns of niche construction in primate and human evolution.

Summer 2008

Dr. Dawn Kitchen will lecture in the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course Biological Field Station

We are pleased to announce that Dawn Kitchen will guest lecture in DANTA’s Primate Behavior and Conservation course in the summer of 2008. Dawn Kitchen has a B.S. in Biology, a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution and Behavior (from University of Minnesota), post-doc experience in Psychology (at University of Pennsylvania), and is currently an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The Ohio State University. Despite visiting many different departments, her interests have always been the same- social behavior and vocalizations of non-human primates. Her work has focused mainly on how loud calls mediate male-male competition within and between groups. She used playback experiments on Belizean black howler monkeys to determine that relative number of males in two groups affects intergroup contests overall, but that participation by different group members (based on sex and rank) varies in complex but measurable ways. Working with Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth on Botswana chacma baboons, she determined that male loud ‘wahoo’ displays are honest indicators of fighting ability, and that male behavior changes based on opponent’s rank and the tangible benefits at stake (guarding estrous females, protecting vulnerable offspring). Although aggression and competition are her favorite topics, she is also interested in the evolution of cooperation (or lack thereof), behavioral endocrinology, social cognition, and hybrid behavior.

Dr. Steffen Reichle lectures in the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course Biological Field Station

"DANTA is pleased to announce that Dr. Steffen Reichle will guest lecture in the Tropical Biology and Conservation course in the summer of 2008. Dr. Reichle, born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1968, received his undergraduate and MSc from the University of Honenheim, and his PhD from the University of Bonn, Germany. Since 1994, he has been working on the taxonomy and ecology of amphibians in Bolivia. He has been the author and co-author of the description of more than 10 species of frogs and snakes. He began working in conservation planning in the late 90s, and since has participated in several ecoregional and site conservation plans, as well as GAP analysis. Currently, he is the science coordinator for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), overseeing their research programs in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina."

Monkey Bridge Project Update.

The Monkey Bridge Project sends a BIG THANKS to all students of the Summer 2008 DANTA Primate Behavior and Conservation Field School! Since 2006, each DANTA primate class has traveled to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca to participate in Volunteer Days. Each trip has met success and this summer was no exception! From June 24-26, students volunteered for all sorts of tasks ? from collecting data on primate habitat to distributing information to the public ? around the Puerto Viejo community.

There were several highlights of this fourth DANTA Volunteer Days, such as developing the monkey feeder tree selection at Vivero: A Plant Nursery in Puerto Viejo (see photo taken by Robin Schindler). In collaboration with Vivero, the project is selling seedlings of trees commonly fed on by primates and other animals. We hope that these efforts will encourage residents to landscape or reforest with plants useful to the wildlife community and raise funds to continue the project. Follow this link to learn more about the Vivero nursery: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Puerto-Viejo-Costa-Rica/Vivero-A-Plant-Nursery/19498061757.

Continuing our parasite study with collaborator Bruno Levecke, a Ph.D. student at Ghent University, was yet another highlight. At the crack of dawn, student teams tracked down howler monkey groups to collect their feces for analysis. As many of the students can attest to, searching for monkey dung at 5 am is quite an experience!

The Monkey Bridge Project welcomes DANTA Volunteer Days because it enables us to tackle larger projects, such as planting corridors, and draws attention to the need for primate conservation in the south Caribbean region of Costa Rica. Thanks again to all who participated!

Winter 2007/2008

We are pleased to announce that Julie Gros-Louis will guest lecture in DANTA’s Primate Behavior and Conservation course in the winter of 2007/2008.

Dr. Julie Gros-LouisJulie Gros-Louis (http://www.indiana.edu/~aviary/People.htm). is currently an adjunct faculty member in the department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. Bloomington. She received her B. S. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in biological-anthropology/zoology (1992). She then went to the University of Pennsylvania for her Master’s (1996) and PhD (2001). She conducted her graduate research on vocal communication and social behavior in white-faced capuchin monkeys in Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Her master’s study explored how the trill vocalization functions in social interactions. Her dissertation research involved different observational sampling methods, playback experiments and food placement experiments to investigate the function of food-associated calls and trills. As a postdoctoral fellow under Meredith West and Andrew King at Indiana University, and currently as an adjunct faculty member, she conducts comparative studies of communicative development in songbirds and prelinguistic infants (humans). In addition, she has had research assistantships studying rhesus macaques at Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico and dolphins in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Her primary research interests include social and vocal development, the development and function of communicative behaviors and the role of signalers and recipients in communication systems.

Dr. Karen Sughrue

Dr. Karen Sughrue also lectures in the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course

Karen graduated from East Tennessee State University in1992 with a degree in Biology. Afterwards, she worked towards a Masters degree in Life Sciences from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville while employed as a primate keeper at the Knoxville Zoological Gardens. She received her doctorate in Ecology from Pennsylvania State University in 2005. Her dissertation work examined the effects of a known endocrine disrupter on the physiology and plumage coloration of the American goldfinch. Between graduate degrees, Karen spent a year in the rainforests of Suriname studying squirrel monkey and capuchin behavior. She currently does contaminant assessment work as a Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration specialist for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Concord, NH.


Summer 2007


Community Day

Community DayMany thanks to the DANTA class of 2007 for helping making Community Day a smashing success! DANTA students helped prepare food for our annual luncheon and donated much needed school supplies to children from the local community. In a community where the average monthly income for a family is $200 or less, this is much appreciated.

Also, big thanks to the EEE Social Club of Quichita Baptist University for their generous donation of school uniforms and shoes to the children of the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course!

To learn more about how to help children in the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course community and surrounding areas, please contact DANTA at kdingess@danta.info.

The second DANTA Volunteer Days, a significant contribution to the Monkey Bridge Project, took place June 24-26, 2007. During this three day event, DANTA students of the Primate Behavior and Conservation field course descended upon the sleepy towns of Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo to gain hands-on experience in primate conservation.

The Monkey Bridge Project commenced in 2006 to help conserve the nonhuman primate population in the Talamanca region of Costa Rica. The project currently works along the rapidly developing coastal area, where tourism is the primary industry. Connecting the fragmented forest over roads with "monkey bridges" for the mantled howler monkey, white-faced capuchin, and black-handed spider monkey is the primary objective of the project. To date, two monkey bridges connect the coastal and inland forests at Playa Chiquita, and a third bridge is in the works near Punta Uva. Residents have observed howler monkeys, kinkajous, and squirrels on these aerial pathways. The first two bridges are located in the home ranges of at least three howler monkey groups, while all three species range in the location of the upcoming third bridge.

The Monkey Bridge Project involves much more than building and monitoring monkey bridges. This year, DANTA volunteers monitored several howler monkey groups, distributed project information around the area, and developed and maintained a growing biological corridor. The contributions of DANTA students make an enormous impact and the Monkey Bridge Project welcomes forthcoming DANTA visits!

Dr. Kevin Hunt lectures in the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course Biological Field Station

Talamanca Monkey Bridge Project

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Kevin Hunt will guest lecture in DANTA's Primate Behavior and Conservation Course in the summer of 2007. Kevin Hunt is a Professor of Anthropology. He got his BA at the University of Tennessee (1980), and his MA (1983) and PhD at the University of Michigan (1989). He studied locomotion and posture in chimpanzees and baboons at Gombe in Tanzania, and chimpanzees at Mahale, Tanzania as his dissertation research. Since then he has studied monkey and chimpanzee diet at Kibale in Uganda. His current research focuses dry-habitat chimpanzee ecology at the Toro-Semliki Wildlife Reserve in Uganda. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University from 1989 to 1991 working under the supervision of Richard W. Wrangham, and he has been at Indiana University ever since. His principal research interests are functional morphology of apes and early humans, the evolution of human bipedalism, and australopithecine and ape ecology.

Dr. Kevin Hunt

Talamanca:

DANTA students in the Primate Behavior and Conservation field course kick-off the Talamanca Monkey Bridge Project with the installation of 2 bridges and tree planting in the Puerto Viejo/Manzanillo region of Costa Rica. Read more about the project below:

Project Description:
The objectives of economic development and conservation are usually on opposite ends of the spectrum. The resulting conflict is observable in many locations, such as the Talamanca region in southeastern Costa Rica. This region boasts several wildlife refuges but forests outside these protected areas are frequently the target of land conversion. Consequently, deforestation has produced a fragmented landscape that is difficult to navigate for tree-dwelling animals, such as howler monkeys and sloths. The Monkey Bridge Project seeks to alleviate travel constraints for these animals and to better understand primates in fragments, while working in a development context. The main objectives of the project will be: i) to investigate habitat use and distribution of howler monkeys in the disturbance matrix; ii) to install and monitor aerial pathways, which will involve gathering data on bridge-use; iii) to establish natural corridors; iv) to promote education and awareness amongst both local people and the world community of the consequences of habitat fragmentation; v) to investigate local social, economic and political conditions, considered in a global framework, in order to enhance species-specific conservation strategies.

The project began in May 2006 and students from the SUNY-Oneonta/DANTA primate behavior and conservation field school helped springboard this project into action. Support for the project has been overwhelming since the first two bridges were installed and numerous people have provided helpful information regarding potential new bridge sites. Continued involvement from students and local residents is crucial to the continued success of this project. For more information about this project and volunteer opportunities, contact Stacy Linshield (slind@iastate.edu).

Rain Forest GroupStacy Linshield

DANTA students during the summer 2006 field Courses helped Kids Saving the Rainforest in their conservation initiatives. At Manuel Antonio National Park, they were involved in several fund raising activities and also received a certificate for supporting the installation of an arboreal pathway, a "monkey bridge," for the highly endangered Central American squirrel monkey. As only about a thousand individuals of this species remain in the wild, monkey bridges provide invaluable corridors for connecting their fragmented habitat.

DANTA students host the first ever "community day" in the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course Biological Field Station. DANTA believes that the success of any conservation project is dependent on community involvement and education. During the summer of 2006, school children from the local villages were invited to the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course Biological Field Station for environmental education and a bit of fun. DANTA students donated school supplies (pencils, paper, pens, etc.) to the local school teachers. We are expanding on this program in the summer of 2007.

If you would like to donate school supplies to the children of the Primate Behavior and Conservation Course, please send them to:

DANTA: Association for Conservation of the Tropics
PO Box 316 DAVENPORT, NY
Phone: (607) 278-9619

Kids El Zota

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