Monkeys – Leaf Eaters

Science Diary: Monkeys – Leaf Eaters

Music; Ambience: howler monkey, rain

TM: “If you’re watching as many monkeys as you can see, if anybody eats anything, write it down. If nothing happens, it’s still data.”

JM: In the forests of Costa Rica, primatologist Tracie McKinney and a team of Earth Watch volunteers are observing a troop of Howler monkeys. What the monkeys are willing to eat may be a clue to helping them in their continued survival. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.

TM: “I’m looking at human disturbance and how it impacts two species of monkeys: the white-faced capuchin monkey and the mantled howler monkey. Both of these species are responding fairly well to human change, but they are still declining in Costa Rica.”

TM: “So we don’t have a lot of answers yet, but I’m beginning to see some trends. For example, howler monkeys eat leaves. But the fact that howlers are fairly flexible in their diet they’ll eat a lot of fruits when it’s available, even though they can eat only leaves seems to be a pretty major factor in their success. They can forage through coffee plantations. They can forage in mango plantations. They can use a lot of trees in agricultural areas. That allows them to have a little bit more breadth. They don’t have to stay right in primary forest. They can move into secondary forest and sometimes even more disturbed habitats. This kind of project is going to be very, very long term. Monkeys have a long life span. It takes quite a while for one generation to breed and raise the next generation. So things that we’re doing now will be impacting monkeys 10 and 20 years down the road.”

JM: We’ll hear more on the monkeys of Costa Rica in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

Monkeys - Leaf Eaters

Costa Rican monkeys are adapting to human disturbances.
Air Date:08/09/2016
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science Diary: Monkeys - Leaf Eaters

Music; Ambience: howler monkey, rain

TM: "If you're watching as many monkeys as you can see, if anybody eats anything, write it down. If nothing happens, it's still data."

JM: In the forests of Costa Rica, primatologist Tracie McKinney and a team of Earth Watch volunteers are observing a troop of Howler monkeys. What the monkeys are willing to eat may be a clue to helping them in their continued survival. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse of the world of science from the inside.

TM: "I'm looking at human disturbance and how it impacts two species of monkeys: the white-faced capuchin monkey and the mantled howler monkey. Both of these species are responding fairly well to human change, but they are still declining in Costa Rica."

TM: "So we don't have a lot of answers yet, but I'm beginning to see some trends. For example, howler monkeys eat leaves. But the fact that howlers are fairly flexible in their diet they'll eat a lot of fruits when it's available, even though they can eat only leaves seems to be a pretty major factor in their success. They can forage through coffee plantations. They can forage in mango plantations. They can use a lot of trees in agricultural areas. That allows them to have a little bit more breadth. They don't have to stay right in primary forest. They can move into secondary forest and sometimes even more disturbed habitats. This kind of project is going to be very, very long term. Monkeys have a long life span. It takes quite a while for one generation to breed and raise the next generation. So things that we're doing now will be impacting monkeys 10 and 20 years down the road."

JM: We'll hear more on the monkeys of Costa Rica in future programs. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation and Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.