Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology & University of Leipzig
Prof. Dr. Anja Widdig
e-mail: anja_widdig@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de
phone.: ++49 (0)341 9736 707
Position: PhD Student
Research Group "Primate Behavioural Ecology"
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig Germany
University of Leipzig Faculty of Life Science
Institute of Biology
Behavioral Ecology Research Group
D-04103 Leipzig Germany
Pregnancy, lactation and infant care are crucial phases in females’ lives, and can importantly affect primate behavioral and cognitive development at both the individual and group level. Although previous studies have analyzed several socio-ecological factors linked to primate reproductive strategies, little is still known on how females adapt or change their behaviour depending on their reproductive state. During my PhD, I will investigate whether females avoid risky behaviors (like consumption of potentially dangerous food items, or attendance of potentially dangerous locations) during periods of pregnancy, lactation and infant care. Furthermore, I predict that social relationships in females will change during these periods, with females avoiding conflicts and increasing the frequency of social positive behaviours. My project will focus on yellow breasted capuchins (Sapajus xanthosternos), a species living in complex multi male and multi female groups which have rarely been studied, particular in the wild. However, they are interesting with regard to my research interests as individuals express impressive manipulative skills (such as coconut breaking, tool use, etc.) to cover their energetic costs particular during pregnancy, lactation and infant care which leads to the occurrence of complex behavioral patterns. The research will be conducted on two groups living in diverse environments (Atlantic forest vs. mangroves) in the Environmental Protection Area of the North Coast of Bahia. Moreover, given the importance of knowledge on breeding strategies for successful conservation, my study will make a strong contribution to conservation of this critically endangered species, promoting the recreation of an adequate environment for their effective reproduction.