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Social-ecological analysis of two species of capuchin monkeys (Cebus xanthosternos and Cebus libidinosus) in different habitats, Atlantic Forest and mangroves

Grant number: 10/51455-0
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: April 01, 2011 - March 31, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Animal Behavior
Principal researcher:Patrícia Izar
Grantee:Patrícia Izar
Home Institution: Instituto de Psicologia (IP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Socioecology applies the principles of behavioral ecology to investigate the evolution of the diversity of primates social systems. With this approach, we seek to identify correlations between environmental variables, such as resource distribution and frequency of interindividual competition, and social behavior. The genus Cebus has a wide geographical distribution and occupies diverse habitats, which demonstrates the great adaptive success of the genus. Several studies show the behavioral flexibility of Cebus regarding foraging behavior, with respect to diet and food handling techniques, including tool use, but studies that examine the variability of social relationships in capuchin monkeys as a relevant element for the ability to occupy different habitats are rare. The aim of this project is to continue the socioecological analysis of social behavior and ecology of different populations and species of Cebus, developed at the Department of Experimental Psychology for about ten years, investigating two new populations living in areas with different characteristics to those already in study: Cebus xanthosternos in the Atlantic Forest, in southern Bahia, and Cebus libidinosus in mangrove area, south of Maranhão. This study will contribute to investigate in what extent the social behavior of primates is adaptive, thus flexible and contingent to the current ecological determinants, and in what extent is an adaptation, therefore limited by norms of social reaction selected in the past. (AU)

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