I am a behavioral ecologist and biological anthropologist interested in primate social behavior and primate responses to anthropogenic changes in their environments. Recently, I conducted research on male-male competition in baboons and I am currently investigating costs and benefits of female sociability in white-faced capuchins and red colobus monkeys. Having worked in several places in the world where primates and other organism are threatened by human activities, I also want to understand how animals respond to environmental change, so that I can help prevent their extinction.
Furthermore, I am passionate about quantitative methods and data analysis in general and absolutely enjoy coding (mostly in R). Therefore, I started a blog about analyzing behavioural and environmental data (https://bedatablog.netlify.com)
PhD in Biology
University of Göttingen, Germany
A key goal in behavioral ecology is to investigate the factors influencing the access to food resources and energetic condition of females, which are strong predictors of their reproductive success. We aimed to investigate how ecological factors, social factors, and reproductive state are associated with energetic condition in a wild neotropical primate using non-invasive measures. We first assessed and compared urinary C-peptide levels (uCP), the presence of urinary ketones (uKet), and behaviorally assessed energy balance (bEB) in female white-faced capuchin monkeys (Cebus imitator) living in Santa Rosa, Costa Rica. Then, we assessed how these measures were associated with feeding competition, dominance rank, and reproductive state. As predicted, uCP and bEB were positively associated with each other, and bEB was negatively associated with uKet. However, we did not find a relationship between uCP and uKet. Females showed lower uCP and bEB values during periods of intense feeding competition, but this relationship was not dependent on dominance rank. Furthermore, rank was not directly associated with uCP and bEB. Urinary ketones, on the other hand, were only produced in the most adverse conditions: by low-ranking, lactating females during periods of intense feeding competition. Behavioral strategies are assumed to maximize reproductive success and not energetic condition per se, which might explain why rank was not generally associated with energetic condition in our study population. This highlights the importance of considering potential differences between reproductive success and proxies of reproductive success, such as energetic condition or food intake, when investigating predictions of socioecological models.