International Primatological Society
Member Login 02/25/2018
IPS Awards and Grantees

Check out some of the fantastic primate research and conservation projects from our grantees here. For a full list of recent awards scroll to the bottom of the page.


Grantee Spotlight: Research Grant - Addisu Mekonnen

Sleeping site seletion of Bale monkeys (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) at Kokosa forest fragment in southern Ethiopia

Addisu Mekonnen:

Sleeping site selection is an important aspect in primate behavioural ecology, where safe sleeping sites and trees are crucial for individual survival and fitness. Several hypotheses have been proposed for sleeping site selection of many primate species. Nothing is know, however, about the sleeping site selection of the little-known, endemic, bamboo-eating Bale monkeys in southern Ethiopia.

The main aim of this study was to test four non-mutually exclusive sleeping site selection hypotheses: prediation avoidance, food access, range defense, and comfort and thermoregulation. The fieldwork was carried out between January and July 2014 in Kokosa forest fragment. The pre-sleeping behaviour of monkeys, characteristics of sleeping trees and sleeping sites were recorded every month. The results from the study will be crucial to increasing our understanding of the ecological and evolutionary adaptations essential for the species' long-term persistence in the southern Ethiopian highlands.

© Addisu Mekonnen DSC_0958.JPG

PI with Bale monkeys in the field © Yonas Hailu.JPG

All photographs © Addisu Mekonnen 2017




Grantee Spotlight: Research Grant 2017 - Laura Abondano

Mating strategies and reproductive endocrinology of female lowland woolly monkeys (Lagothrix logotricha poeppigii): Implications for female mate choice in a promiscuous primate.

Research Update: Woolly Monkey Mating Season and the Perks of Field Work in the Amazon Rainforest, Laura Abondano

The Amazon is a notoriously wet and humid place, I mean it's called a RAINforest after all. However, between the months of July and August, our field site receives the least amount of rainfall of the year and it can get really hot! Perhaps this is the reason why our study subjects, woolly monkeys (Lagothrix lagotricha poeppigii), are being so lazy this month. Woolly monkeys typically spend about a third of their day travelling. However, during the past few days of behavioral follows some individuals, like the subadult male in the photo below, have been spending most of their time either resting or foraging in the same area and moving for only short periods of time. After all, who want to be moving around trees when it's so hot out there!



Woolly monkeys are not the only ones finding the summer heat to be exhausting. While traveling into our field site, we were lucky to encounter the 'King of the Forest' as we were traveling down the Tiputini River. August and January are the months of the year when you are most likely to see jaguars (Panthera onca), since during these months when the river levels are lowest that there are more exposed beaches for these felines to find a spot to cool off. 

As average temperatures being to go down in September, we hope to see the woolly monkeys become more active. It is around this time of year when we start to note an increase in sexual activity, and see females start soliciting copulations more frequently from multiple (if not all) males in the social group. With two field assistants, we are eager to start recording these behaviors and to be collecting faecal samples in order to characterize female's ovulation cycles. Using both behavioral and endocrinological data, we hope to determine whether females are choosing to mate with particular males when they are most fertile (i.e., around the time of ovulation), while mating with other males outside their fertility peak - perhaps to confuse paternity and obtain benefits (such as food sharing or protection) from multiple males once their babies are born.

For regular updates on her work and that of other woolly monkey researchers - check out the MonoChorongo blog! 


The 'King of the Forest'. 

All photographs © Laura Abondano 2017



Grantee Spotlight: Research Grant 2016 - Mareike Janiak

Adaptations for insectivory in digestive enzymes of new world primates.

Mareike Janiak; twitter: @MareikeCora

My research looks at enzymes that are produced in the guts of primates. All animals produce these enzymes to help them digest the foods they eat and I am trying to figure out if different primates have specialized enzymes depending on what foods they eat on a regular basis. For example, does a monkey that eats a lot of insects produce an enzyme to break down the tough exoskeletons of insects? To do this, I don't actually need samples from primate stomachs, but I can look for genes that code for these enzymes. So far I have found that most (but not all!) primates do have a functional gene that codes for a chitin-digesting enzyme. (Chitin is what the exoskeletons of insects are made of.) Interestingly, some primates that eat a lot of insects have more than one gene, while some of those primates that don't eat any insects also have no functional genes! 






All photographs © Mareike Janiak 2017





 Grantee Spotlight: Research Grant 2016 - Rachel F. Perlman

The energetics of male reproductive strategies in geladas (Theropithecus gelada).

Rachel F. Perlman w:

Energy is classically considered a main limiting factor in the reproductive success of female primates, but not males. Yet males may also face energetic constraints, particularly when reproductive strategies involve direct competition. Such competitive behaviors are often mediated by testosterone, and because testosterone production is itself sensitive to nutritional shortfalls, testosterone-dependent behaviors and thus male reproduction is likely constrained by energetic condition. The way in which such constraints affect male reproductive success is, however, poorly understood.

My research examines the energetic dynamics of male reproductive strategies in geladas (Theropithecus gelada). Two kinds of gelada males are distinguished: harem-holding leader males siring 83-100% of offspring and bachelor males in all-male groups with no reproductive opportunities. To gain reproductive access, bachelors must takeover a leader's unit. Because takeovers involve intense chases and fighting, energetic condition likely mediates the male reproductive success. Intriguingly, the annual takeover season occurs at the end of the dry season when the main food source (grass) is less plentiful. This suggests that bachelors may target leaders when they are energetically vulnerable.

I will collect data from a population of wild geladas living in the Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia. I will combine non-invasive hormone analyses (thyroid hormone, C-peptide, testosterone) with behavioral observations to examine seasonal energetic variation, how energetics relates to male social status, and whether energetic condition influences testosterone and male reproductive strategies. This project will shed light on how energetics constrains testosterone-mediated reproductive effort and ultimately shapes male reproductive success in wild primates.



© Rachel F. Perlman 2017








 Grantee Spotlight: Alison Jolly Lemur Conservation Grant 2016

Climate Change, Coups, and Critically Endangered Species: First Aerial Drone Surveys of Madagascar's Lemurs 

Brandon Semel t: @brandonsemel   w:

Critically endangered golden-crowned sifakas are found only in northern Madagascar. Traditional walking surveys in 2006/2008 suggested that at least 18,000 remained. Madagascar’s 2009 coup brought increased habitat loss and hunting across the species’ habitat while climate change continues to pose an additional, less tangible threat to the species’ persistence. We sought to use unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to update habitat maps and to assess their use for long-term sifaka monitoring. Walking transects also were conducted for comparison against UAV surveys.

Local guides facilitated walking surveys in five forest fragments. Unfortunately, evidence of lemur hunting was not uncommon, and our guides (local forest guardians) had to leave early one day to bring two poachers to the police. Our limited pilot season suggests that the current population size is closer to 11,500 individuals with an upper limit of 18,700. This represents a 36% population decline in the last 10 years. Sifakas were not disturbed by UAV flights (we feared the sifakas would think that UAVs were predatory hawks and flee!). While we could identify sifakas from the air, technological challenges prevented additional field-testing. More extensive surveys will take place in 2017, and we will work with local stakeholders to improve anti-poaching efforts.


 IMG_2589.jpg IMG_3554.jpg  IMG_4440.jpg 
Local capacity building and engagement were crucial aspects of our work this summer. Here, Malagasy university students and local guides test the use of UAVs for lemur population and habitat monitoring. © Brandon Semel, 2017 Endangered crowned lemurs are found only in northern Madagascar. They are across their range hunted and little is known about their abundance. © Brandon Semel, 2017 Virginia Tech undergraduate, Paige Crane (with golden-crowned sifaka), joined the team for a month, where she learned about the complexity of conducting international research. © Brandon Semel, 2017




2016 IPS Conservation Grants awardees

Daniel Alempijevic USA A population assessment of the critically endangered Dryad monkey (Cercopithecus dryas) in the Balanda Community Forest of the Democratic Republic of Congo
Parthankar Choudhury India Status survey and Conservation needs of Primates in the Inner Line Reserve forest, Cachar, Assam, India
Allie Hofner UK Preuss's red colobus Procolobus pennantii preussi density and significance in northern Korup National Park: A multifaceted approach to understanding arboreal primate abundance and local perceptions and livelihoods in a protected area.
Katharine Kling USA Testing time: Follow-up surveys of southeastern Malagasy rainforest fragments to assess long-term viability
Daniel Mwamidi Kenya Conservation of Roosting and Foraging Habitats for the Endemic Mountain Dwarf Galagos (Galagoides orinus) in Taita hills, Kenya
Petro Scarascia Brazil Conservation Program of the black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus) in the Carlos Botelho State Park and its Buffer Zone
*Brandon Semel USA Climate Change, Coups, and Critically Endangered Species: First Aerial Drone Surveys of Madagascar's Lemurs
Jaima Smith UK An examination and assessment of current conservation activities for Javan gibbons (Hylobates moloch) in West Java, Indonesia

*2016 Alison Jolly Lemur Conservation Grant winner


2016 Precongress Training Program participants

Bruce Ainebyona Uganda
Nestor Allgas Peru
Nguyen Thi Lan Anh Vietnam
Swtha Stotra Bhashyan India
Dwi Yandhi Febriyanti Indonesia
Lisley Pereira Lemos Nogueria Gomes Brazil
Karine Galisteo Diemer Lopes Brazil
David Momoh Sierra Leone
Samedi Mucyo Rwanda
Toky Hery Rakotoarinivo Madagascar
Natalia Fuentes Salcedo Ecuador
Bui Van Tuan Vietnam


Education and Outreach

Outcome of the 2016 Charles Southwick Conservation Education Commitment Award

Herman Syahputra Sumatra Conservation Educator, Orang Utan Republik Foundation


Outcome of the 2016 Lawrence Jacobsen Education Development Grantees

Thierry Inzirayineza Rwanda Using debate as a tool to increase young people awareness about the importance of primate conservation around Gishwati National Park, Rwanda 
Nick Marx Cambodia Primate Conservation Centre at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre
Rebecca Smith Paraguay Paraguay's Little Monkeys: Inspiring Primate Conservation Heroes and Tackling Paraguy's Primate Pet Trade
Gary Shapiro Sumatra MECU6: Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF)'s Mobile Education & Conservation Unit, Year 6



Outcome of the 2016 Research grant awards

Matthew De Vries Canada An exploration of intragroup variation in behaviour across habitat types during the dry season in Saguinus imperator
Susie Lee USA Role of androgens in the modulation of parental effort and protectiveness in female macaques
Rachel Sawyer UK Briding the gap between primate food selection and sensory ecology: how do nocturnal folivorous strepsirrhines determine food quality?
Mareike Janiak USA Adaptations for insectivory in digestive enzymes of new world primates
Gillian King-Bailey USA Androgens, cortisol, behavior, and food seasonality in wild white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) in Sector Santa Rosa, Área de Conservación de Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Brandon Wheeler UK Can nonhuman primates socially learn the meaning of signals? An experimental test with wild capuchin monkeys
Rachel Perlman USA The energetics of male reproductive strategies in geladas (Theropithecus gelada
Ghislain Thiery France Uncovering food mechanical properties from the teeth of extant and extinct primates 


IPS Lifetime Achievement awards

  • Dr. Jane Goodall at the IPS Congress 2016 in Chicago, USA
  • Dr Jeanne Altmann at the IPS Congress 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Dr. John Oates at the IPS Congress 2012 in Cancun, Mexico
  • Dr. Allison Jolly at the IPS Congress 2010 in Kyoto, Japan 
  • Dr. Toshisada Nishida at the IPS Congress 2008 in Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Dr. Tom Struhsaker at the IPS Congress 2006 in Entebe, Uganda
  • Dr. Hilary Box at the IPS Congress 2004 in Torino, Italy


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