Destination: Brazil

Expedition: Capuchin monkeys have used stone and wood tools to process their food for some 3,000 years. Brazilian scientist Dr. Andrea Presotto is researching how human activities specifically tourism to witness these monkeys and their human like behavior affect the mangroves and capuchins in the coastal Maranhâo State in Brazil. In addition, the exploitation by fisheries in mangroves here has exploded in the last decade due to unregulated tourism, as they seek out the same large crabs that sustain the bearded capuchin population on the two islands where the study will occur. Dr. Presotto’s research site hosts the tool using crab cracking capuchin monkeys one of the islands is where tourists visit and feed capuchins the food they bring with them, disrupting their natural behavior . Dr. Presotto’s team will use geographic information systems, UAVs to gather thermal data on the monkeys at night, spatial models, and an experimental approach to test the effects of human activities on capuchin demography and behavior . Presotto and team will also assess the health of the mangrove ecosystem that sustains the capuchins through coring and analysis.