Capuchins @ Taboga is a long-term research project studying the cognition and behavior of wild white-faced capuchins in the Taboga forest reserve of Costa Rica (launched June 2017). We are interested in all aspects of capuchin behavior, but we are focused on social cognition, communication, and hormone-behavior relationships. We have habituated two + groups of capuchins and are habituating three + others. At this point we are collecting long-term behavioral data, recording vocalizations, extracting hormones from fecal samples, and we have started habituating the monkeys to feeding platforms, which we will utilize for cognitive experiments.
As an international collaboration between the University of Michigan (UM), Emory University (EU), Michigan State University (MSU), the Universidad Téchnica Nacional (UTN) in Costa Rica, and the Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservacion (SINAC), this project will foster an international network of scientific researchers and collaborative relationships between the U.S. and Costa Rica. Together, we aim to establish a one-of-a-kind, entirely-sustainable, international field station, where we combine a diverse biological field site, featuring an on-site environmental endocrinology laboratory and training facility for Costa Rican students/employees and other personnel from the local community. This unique combination of both forest and laboratory, housed under a “sustainable roof”, managed primarily by Costa Rican nationals, offers an ideal setup for an international field school where training can be offered in each area (field, laboratory, conservation, and sustainability methods). The endocrine labs in the field and the UM have a goal to use environmentally friendly and sustainable lab practices.