About

With female bonobo Lady at the Columbus Zoo. Picture taken by Ashley Edes
With female bonobo Lady at the Columbus Zoo. Picture taken by Ashley Edes.

I am a biological anthropologist interested in primate friendship, social networks, and stress. My dissertation research focused on stress and friendship in female spider monkeys. Most of my graduate research was conducted at El Zota Biological Field Station, with a little help from the spider monkeys at Brookfield Zoo, IL.  My fieldwork experience includes research on howler monkeys  in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, free-ranging rhesus monkeys at Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, and gorillas and chimpanzees in Cameroon. I’ve also studied captive chimpanzees at the North Carolina Zoo, bonobos at the Columbus Zoo, and spider monkeys, big cats, and pachyderms at Brookfield Zoo.

Currently, I am studying a new focal species, humans! I am a postdoctoral fellow with the Laboratory of Evolutionary Endocrinology and Beckman Institute  at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. With Kate Clancy  and Liz Stine-Morrow, I am working on projects examining social support and stress in female scientists, the impact of negative workplace experiences on women of color, and the impact of friendship across the lifespan.

I’ve taught courses in biological anthropology, archaeology, and primate behavior.  I love teaching about primates and evolution, and hope to someday bring students back to El Zota and other locations in Costa Rica!

You can contact me at michellespidermonkey@gmail.com, or find me on twitter  @MARspidermonkey. You can go to my blog spidermonkeytales.blogspot.com  to read old entries about my masters and dissertation research, as well as current blog entries!

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