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 primatologist/biological anthropologist who studies comparative social behavior and endocrinology. 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 research associate with the Laboratory of Evolutionary Endocrinology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois. With Kate Clancy, I am working on projects examining female friendship, social networks, and stress in teenage girls and female scientists.

I’ve taught courses in introductory biological anthropology, world prehistory, and co-instructed a field course in primate behavior and conservation at El Zota. 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 my current blog entries!


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