Current Lab Members

Owl Monkey Project Research Team – Formosa, Argentina

Marcelo Rotundo
Project Manager
, Proyecto Mirikiná
Secretary, Fundación ECO

I met Marcelo when he was working at the Argentinean Primate Center in Resistencia. I was in need of assistance in my research and Marcelo came to Formosa to visit the site of the still-non-existent Owl Monkey Project. He spent the weekend camping with my family in the forest and together we walked along the Pilagá River to decide where we should study the monkeys. In 1999, Marcelo joined the project full-time and has been working with me since then.

His role has been instrumental in the success and longevity of Proyecto Mirikina. Nobody knows the monkeys of Guaycolec better than him. He has been responsible for the capturing of over 140 owl monkeys. His field skills have also sent him on numerous trips to my field site in the Ecuadorian Amazon to collaborate in the capturing of owl, saki, titi and squirrel monkeys at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station.

Víctor Dávalos
Data Manager and Field Assistant, 
Proyecto Mirikiná

A recent graduate and now Professor of Biological Sciences at the Universidad Nacional de Formosa, Víctor joined the Owl Monkey Project in 2005. Victor’s success with the project stems from his love and knowledge of the forest. Truly a ‘nature man’, Víctor can get lost in the forest for hours, observing the plant and animal species that surround him. His knowledge of ecology is vast. He is the obvious choice to get stuck in the quincho with for days: when not studying the monkeys, Víctor makes ‘camp art’ – among his projects are dream catchers, statues and sketches. Not to mention his delicious empanadas and Paraguayan dishes that keep our team happy!

Cecila Juárez PhD
Postdoctoral researcher, Proyecto Mirikiná
Ph.D., Universidad de Tucumán

In her last years of her undergraduate career at the Universidad Nactional de Tucumán, Cecilia came for a summer research experience with the Owl Monkey Project. Cecilia arrived in Formosa with extensive experience working with wild animals and joined the team full-time in 2002 after her graduation. Since then she has contributed an amazing amount of time and effort to collecting behavioral data. Cecilia started her Ph.D. research in 2007 with a scholarship from the Argentinean National Council of Research at the Centro de Ecología Aplicada del Litoral (Corrientes-Conicet). Ceci completed her doctorate studying the demography and the life history of owl monkeys in two forest environments of the Argentina Chaco: gallery forest and isolated patches of forest. Lately, she has received prestigious grants from international primate societies to support her research.

Ben Finkel
Research Associate, Yale Anthropology
Field research assistant (2013 – 2014)

Ben received a B.S. from Duke University in Evolutionary Anthropology and Environmental Sciences in 2013, completing a senior thesis on chimpanzee conservation psychology. His previous field experiences included a season with a chimpanzee habituation project in Budongo forest. Ben’s project research has focused on owl monkey’s nutritional ecology, collaborating with Dr. Jessica Rothman’s Lab. Passionate about science communication, Ben is also contributing to our website and and blog.


1511084_10102240864710984_2071873767_nAlba Garcia de la Chica
Field research assistant (February 2014 to present)

Alba received a B.S in Psychology in 2012 at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, and a M.S in Primatology at the Universidad de Barcelona one year later. For her B.S she performed a systematic revision about the presence of alloparental care after birth of twins in uniparous primates. Her M.S research project was entitled, “Analysis of the lost weight in the common marmoset (Callitrhix jacchus) associated with the transport of infants”. She collaborated during year two in the colony of callitrichids primates of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Her passion for the primatology has taken her to Formosa to be a part of Proyect Mirikiná.

Carolina MaloCarolina Urbina Malo
Field research assistant (October 2014 to present)

Carolina received a B.S in Biology in 2012 at the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá , Colombia. Her B.S research project was entitled, “Ranging patterns of brown spider monkeys (Ateles hybridus) in a fragmented forest in northern Colombia.” With the foundation Proyecto Primates, she studied the diet, activity patterns, and behavior of white faced monkeys, Cebus albifrons, as well as the demography of night monkeys, Aotus griseimembra, in the north of Colombia. Her love for owl monkeys has taken her to Formosa. In her free time she enjoys drawing and painting monkey art.


Graduate students

Maggie CorleyMargaret Corley
Ph.D. Student, Anthropology (2010 – present)
University of Pennsylvania

Maggie completed her oral exams on April 30 2013. Her dissertation title is “Leaving home: Genetic, endocrine, and behavioral correlates of dispersal in monogamous owl monkeys (Aotus azarae) of Argentina”.

Andrea Spence-Aizenberg 
Ph.D. Student, Anthropology (2010 – present)
University of Pennsylvania

Andrea completed her oral exams in May 2013. Her dissertation title is: “Olfactory communication, partner choice, and reproduction in pair bonded owl monkeys (Aotus spp.)”


Undergraduate researchers

carrera_photoSofia Carrera
Lab research assistant, Yale Anthropology

Sofia is a senior undergraduate at Yale, working towards a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her previous field research experiences have taken her to the Peruvian Amazon, where she studied the behavior of eight primate species, and to the South African savanna, where she validated a cortisol ELISA kit for African buffalo and where she investigated small mammal biodiversity changes. Using samples from Formosa, she is currently working on her undergraduate thesis: “Diurnal variation of testosterone in adult male owl monkeys”.


Leonie Cohen

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Leonie is a junior at Swarthmore College, pursuing a B.A. in Biological Anthropology. Her previous research includes work in Professor Eduardo Ferndandez-Duque’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania and study of sex differences in sociality of captive chimpanzees at Chimp Haven, a sanctuary in Keithville, LA. She is currently a research assistant in the Psychology Department at the University of Pennsylvania and looks forward to working as a field assistant in Formosa this summer.

 Student Advisee
Sam Larson (2013 – present)
Ph.D. student, Anthropology
University of Pennsylvania


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