Conservation to Coexist: Participatory Action Research for Primate Conservation and Community Development around Kibale National Park, Uganda

Around Kibale National Park in western Uganda, community members face human-wildlife conflict (HWC) in the form of crop raiding from animals in the Park on a regular basis. Conservation to Coexist is a participatory-action research project that works with Uganda Wildlife Authority, local researchers and community members to decrease this HWC through sustainable land-use changes. These land-use changes include maintaining a trench, managing beehive fences, planting tea as a buffer crop and growing and selling garlic.

Conservation to Coexist has been successful in decreasing the frequency of crop raiding in participating communities and is hoping to expand to other nearby communities in the future. 

Behavioral, microbial, and hormonal variation in spider monkeys and woolly monkeys in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Based in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador, the goal of this project is to investigate the physiological correlates to social behavior in sympatric spider monkeys (Ateles belzebuth) and woolly monkeys (Lagothrix poeppiggi). Both spider and woolly monkeys demonstrate low intragroup male-male aggression and high intragroup male-male affiliation. However, the two species diverge in their intergroup male-male interactions, as spider monkeys are far less tolerant of extra-group males than woolly monkeys.

Using a combination of observational data and non-invasively collected fecal and urine samples, REBEL is working to understand the relationship between concentrations of hormones like testosterone and glucocorticoids with the behavior of Neotropical primates and how this relates to disparate levels of cooperation and aggression across species and groups. 

Neotropical primates as a reservoir for Zika Virus in the Americas (Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico)

In collaboration with the National Institute of Health, REBEL is studying ways to detect the presence of ZIKV in Neotropical primates. Using RNA extraction and analysis, REBEL has identified fecal sampling as a non-invasive and cost-effective way to test for ZIKV. This research has the potential to protect both people and animals from ZIKV transmission, especially those in South America that live in close proximity to neotropical primates.

Red Colobus Monkey Reproduction and Conservation in Kibale National Park, Uganda

Kibale National Park in western Uganda is home to 13 different species of nonhuman primates, including red colobus monkeys (Piliocolobus tephrosceles). To learn more about the ecology of red colobus, REBEL works with a well-studied population of monkeys to understand the impact of habitat degradation on red colobus diet, reproduction, and physiology. This longitudinal study relies on observational data as well as non-invasive urine and fecal samples to garner a holistic understanding of red colobus ecology.