My research focuses on the community ecology and behavioral ecology of Amazonian people and sympatric wildlife and the complex ecological and social interactions between them. Most of my research takes place in the small South American country of Guyana where I am currently conducting two projects. In one of these, I am working with indigenous Waiwai forager-horticulturalists on a long-term and multifaceted study of human-nonhuman primate interactions and shared ecologies. The primary goals of this project are to holistically describe the human-nonhuman animal interface and to develop a community based method for sustainable management of subsistence hunting and zoonotic disease surveillance. In my other project, I am studying the behavioral ecology of bearded saki monkeys, focusing on movement ecology, fission-fusion dynamics, and feeding ecology. In my research, I make extensive use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to develop spatially explicit behavioral and ecological models.
My other research interests include cross-cultural variation in material hunting culture, particularly tools used for nonhuman primate hunting. Hunting tools like bows and arrows and blowguns show tremendous variation across the world in their construction, raw materials, and design. I am interested in the extent to which this variation reflects optimality of design versus cultural identity.
I am always looking for eager students to collaborate on my various research projects. Please contact me if you are interested.
Waiwai hunters (Charakura Yukuma and Elisha Marawanaru) in the Konashen Community Owned Conservation Area, Guyana.
Fruits consumed by bearded sakis (Chiropotes sagulatus).