[BERG] FW: July 1st Living Links Research Forum at Edinburgh Zoo

Hannah Buchanan-Smith h.m.buchanan-smith at stir.ac.uk
Fri Jun 19 11:51:00 BST 2015

Apologies for cross postings, but in case of interest to a wider audience....

From: Amanda Seed [mailto:ams18 at st-andrews.ac.uk]
Sent: 19 June 2015 10:33
To: Hannah Buchanan-Smith; Andrew Whiten; Lara Wood; Kristin Descovich; 'lhopper at lpzoo.org'; Phyllis Lee; Christine Caldwell; 'Research at blairdrummond.com'; 'SPearson at rzss.org.uk'; 'AMacri at rzss.org.uk'; Hayley Ash; 'antoine at thgroup.co'; 'L.Robinson at ed.ac.uk'; 'd.m.altschul at sms.ed.ac.uk'; 'Morton.blake at gmail.com'; Erica van de Waal; 'Lucille.bellegarde at sruc.ac.uk'; Rachel Harrison; Lizzie Webber; Stuart Watson; Camille Troisi; 'j.wathan at sussex.ac.uk'; 'sophia.m.daoudi at gmail.com'; 'mariawollnik at gmail.com'; 'Sonia.rey.planellas at gmail.com'; Jennifer Botting; Lewis Dean; 'S1443883 at sms.ed.ac.uk'; Emily Cibulka; Sumir Keenan; 'Mairimac3 at hotmail.com'; 'louisatasker at gmail.com'; 'abates at rzss.org.uk'; 'sullivan.e13 at gmail.com'; 'Katie Slocombe'; 'adowling at rzss.org.uk'; Emily Messer
Subject: July 1st Living Links Research Forum at Edinburgh Zoo

Dear all,
We are holding a little research forum about some of the recently completed and congoing research at Living Links in the Budongo Trail lecture theatre at Edinburgh zoo, on July 1st, 10.30.  You can also hear more about plans for 'Wild Links' for capuchin and squirrel monkeys - which some of you might have heard a bit about at the Burn.
Details about the programme can be found here, also pasted below.

It would be lovely to see some of you there.
Best wishes,

10:30 - Welcome and overview to research conducted at Edinburgh Zoo - Prof Andy White and Dr Amanda Seed - University of St Andrews

10.45 -  Dr. Lara Wood, University of St Andrews
Living Links cubicle research and results from a recent study with capuchin monkeys
This talk will give an overview of how Living Links researchers work with the monkeys in the research cubicles. Following this, data will be presented on a recent experiment investigating whether the location of the edible reward within an artificial-fruit puzzle can affect capuchins' success in extracting it and imitation of others' actions. In nature, foraging actions a monkey may copy are typically around the edible goal, like peeling a fruit or shelling a nut, and things we humans copy where there is more separation (e.g. a light switch) may be more difficult for a monkey to grasp. Nineteen monkeys participated in the full experiment. A human demonstrated how to obtain food from a puzzle using one of two actions. The food was either close to (5cm), or far from (20cm), the action. Capuchins were less likely to watch the human demonstrator's action and less successful at retrieving the reward, when the food was far from rather than close to those demonstrated actions. There was tentative evidence of learning from the demonstrator which was affected by food location. The implications of these results will be discussed.

11.15 Dr. Lewis Dean, University of St Andrews
A 'micro-culture' study of young children visiting Budongo Trail
We are studying what gives us humans the ability to build up complex cultures over time, compared to other primates. To do this we are creating 'micro-cultures' in little groups, including children. For this, Zoo visitors aged 4-6 years were invited to take part in a game to get a series of prizes out of a complex apparatus. Starting with a group of three children, we replaced a child every five minutes until there was a completely new group, echoing cultural generations. By examining how the groups interacted with the apparatus and with one another, we can shed light on the evolution of human culture.

11.45 Zita Polgár, University of Edinburgh
Assessing individual differences in squirrel monkeys - Personality and interaction with zoo visitors
The goal of this study is to determine whether there are individual differences between squirrel monkeys in how they respond to different groups of visitors at the viewing window. Do some monkeys prefer coming to the window when there are large groups there, while others when there is just a single person? Do some show preferences for interacting with children rather than adults? Answering these questions will help us better understand the relationship between the monkeys and the visitors as well as allowing us to improve individual welfare and design better enclosures. Another goal of this study is to assess how this window approaching behaviour is correlated with the individual personality scores that are given to the monkeys by the keepers. Overall, we expect that there will be a general trend for the monkeys to come to the window more frequently when there are larger visitor groups there - they are quite curious! In addition, we predict that those monkeys who score highest in bold and sociable personality traits will be the most frequent visitors while those monkeys who score lower on these traits will be less frequent visitors and may show a preference for smaller visitor groups.

12.15 Sophia Daoudi and Prof. Hannah M. Buchanan-Smith, University of Stirling
The quest to establish a new long-term field station for conservation and primate research in Suriname.
Primate researchers value the opportunity to conduct both captive and field studies, to test hypotheses derived from the field under controlled conditions in captivity and from that, generate further hypotheses to be examined in the wild. At Living Links in Edinburgh zoo, we study the behaviour of capuchin and squirrel monkeys living in captivity in mixed-species groups.  In this talk we will describe our attempt to find an appropriate 'wild link' for our population of captive monkeys and establish a long-term field station.
The Guiana Shield is a biodiversity hotspot containing one of the largest protected tropical areas within the Neotropics and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The Raleighvallen Nature Reserve, Suriname forms part of this region and is relatively unaffected by anthropogenic disturbances such as hunting and deforestation, making it an ideal location to conduct baseline biological and ecological research. We shall describe preliminary plans to re-establish the Conservation International (CI) field station to allow us to conduct long-term projects investigating the 8 sympatric primate species in addition to other fauna and flora. The first project will investigate the understudied polyspecific associations between the tufted brown capuchin (Sapajus apella) and the common squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus). If we can re-establish this site, it might be possible to twin the CI field station with the Living Links to Human Evolution Research Centre, Royal Zoological Society Scotland (RZSS), Edinburgh Zoo.

12.45  - end.

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