STEM Seminar: Real Life Monkey Business

“Real Life Monkey Business,” the third in a series of four STEM seminars during Winter quarter, took place Friday in APH 201.

Rob Schubert, a Bioanthropology instructor, researched Ursine Colobus and Lowe’s Guenon monkeys at the Boabeng-Fiema Monkey Sanctuary in Ghana.

Schubert said his research aimed to find the evolutionary constraints on movement in the two species and how they differed in adapting to them. He said he recorded their posture, movement and position in the forest canopy in three-minute intervals, totaling “around 20,000-plus data points.”

The research trip, while fascinating, took its toll on Schubert’s health. Studying monkeys for the majority of each day, Schubert lost 70 pounds.

“If you ever want to go on a diet, follow monkeys for eleven months,” he said.

Schubert talked about the effects of forest disturbance caused by tourism. He compared monkeys living in disturbed versus non-disturbed portions of forest, finding that monkeys who lived in more disturbed forest areas “tended to not hang out as much in the upper canopy,” because they could not traverse between trees as effectively.

The next STEM seminar, entitled “Fascinating Ferments” by Jared Englund, will be presented on Feb. 26.

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