109 Davenport Hall
607 S. Matthews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801 USA
I have studied foraging behavior in several organisms such as insects, mollusks, and primates. My current interests revolve around the factors that influence diet selection in non human primates, and their behavioral and physiological adaptations to acquire food and meet their nutritional goals.
My doctoral research examines the foraging strategies of Alouatta pigra, an endangered primate that feeds on low quality resources and yet is characterized by rapid growth rates and a high reproductive output compared to closely related species.
Specifically, I analyze patch and food choice, food intake rates, and the nutritional composition of the diet of adult howler monkeys in order to test hypotheses based on Optimal Foraging Theory, a nutrient mixing framework, and models of social foraging.
My goal is to study the strategies employed by non-human primates to cope with the exploitation of difficult to digest resources by integrating nutritional, energetic, ecological, and behavioral data. This will offer insight into the factors that have shaped human and non-human primates’ digestive adaptations, diet, nutritional ecology, and cognition.
I recently concluded a 15-month field research at El Tormento, a 1400-Ha protected seasonal forest in the state of Campeche, Mexico.