Abstract # 6:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 19, 2008 10:15 AM-10:25 AM: Session 1 (Meeting Room 2DEF) Symposium

Methods for behavioral monitoring of zoo primates

S. W. Margulis1,2, S. Atsalis1 and J. V. Watters3
1Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL 60614, USA, 2The University of Chicago, 3Chicago Zoological Society
     In the past, zoological parks have been overlooked as venues for primatological research. However, as a result of the implementation of scientifically-based zoo management, the value of primatological studies in zoos has become increasingly recognized in the research community (Stoinski et al., 1998; Feistner et al., 2002). In turn, the volume of research from zoos has also increased dramatically. However, there are methodological issues associated with zoo-based research. The most significant problems zoo researchers face include limited staff time for data collection and small samples sizes. The first problem is addressed by modifying data collection protocols to facilitate recording quantifiable, scientifically sound data in a limited amount of time (Margulis et al., 2007); the latter is addressed via the expansion of multi-institutional collaborative efforts (Margulis¬†et al., in press). The need for multi-institutional collaborations has encouraged the development of tools that facilitate common methodologies, most notably in the form of shared, mutually agreed-upon ethograms (Atsalis et al., 2005), and associated tools to facilitate data collection. The development of such methodologies supports the expansion of behavioral monitoring, a variant on observational research that utilizes brief episodes of data collection over an extended period of time in order to generate behavioral baseline information. In these ways, researchers, animal care staff and students collect data in standardized ways to enhance captive management and to facilitate hypothesis-driven primate research.