For three months this summer I will be based in the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica and will be studying the effect spider monkeys have on the plant community structure.
This is for my undergraduate dissertation project at the University of Exeter and will comply everything I have learned at University.
I have a particular love for science and wildlife photography. And as a zoology student, it can be particularly daunting reading page after page of scientific literature, scanning through data, tables and figures and slowly losing all motivation for why you’re studying a scientific degree in the first place.
To be frank, science can be boring and tedious, and not something the typical citizen will want to read about. I doubt many of you will actually read my dissertation but you will probably see my photos.
My ‘what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up’ answer is a conservation biologist who implements photography into exposing critical conservation concerns and uncovering research to people who wouldn’t otherwise have an interest in the complexities and phenomenal interactions of the natural world.
But I need your help to send me to Costa Rica and kick-start my career. So that’s my story but what about the spider monkeys.
Spider monkeys are frugivores, meaning they eat a diet consisting predominantly of fruit. They settle to sleep at specific sleeping sites that also function as latrines, or communal toilets. I will study these sleeping sites to understand the effect spider monkeys may have in seed dispersal.
In the past 45 years, the Geoffroy’s spider monkey has declined by 50% and is now listed as endangered. It is vital we learn more about their ecology to prevent further decline. If the spider monkeys do affect the plant community, a conservation strategy could include translating the sleeping tree leaf litter to areas of the rainforest where there are no spider monkeys.
A big thank you to anyone who pledges, little or big any donation is greatly appreciated!