Jessica Lynch Alfaro, Vice Chair of Undergraduate Education

Ph.D.,  Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
M.S.,  Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
B.A.,  English, University of California, Davis

Dr. Jessica Lynch Alfaro is an Associate Professor in ISG.  She is a member of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group and co-editor for the journal “Neotropical Primates”, a publication of Conservation International.

Lynch Alfaro is a biological anthropologist whose research centers on the evolution of behavioral and morphological diversity in Neotropical primates. Her research focuses most strongly on understanding the diversity within capuchin monkeys (Sapajus and Cebus), and incorporates phylogenomic and biogeographic analyses. Like humans, capuchins are a recent and successful radiation of weedy generalists, able to survive even in marginal habitats through extractive foraging and tool use. Populations of capuchin monkeys in the wild differ markedly from one another in social and sexual behaviors and in grouping patterns, and thus provide an excellent system for comparative study of both cultural and genetic variation.

Currently Lynch Alfaro is studying mate choice, immigration and MHC genes in wild Cebus capucinus in collaboration with Katharine Jack (Tulane University), and genomic evolution in robust capuchins (Sapajus) with Patrícia Izar (University of Sāo Paulo).  Her research is funded by FAPESP and the Louisiana Board of Regents.


Rylands AB, Heymann EW, Lynch Alfaro J, Buckner JC, Roos C, Matauschek C, Boubli JP, Sampaio R, Mittermeier RA.  Taxonomic review of the New World tamarins (Primates: Callitrichidae).  Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society DOI: 10.1111/zoj.12386 (early view)

Byrne H, Rylands AB, Carneiro JC, Alfaro JWL, Bertuol B, Silva MNF, Messias M, Groves CP, Mittermeier RA, Farias I, Hrbek T, Schneider H, Sampaio I, Boubli JP. Phylogenetic relationships of the New World titi monkeys (Callicebus): First appraisal of taxonomy based on molecular evidence.  Frontiers in Zoology 13: 1-25.

Lynch Alfaro JW, Cortes-Ortiz L, Di Fiore A, Boubli JP.  Special Issue: Comparative Biogeography of Neotropical Primates. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 82: 518-529.

Lynch Alfaro JW, Boubli JP, Paim FP, Ribas CC, Nazareth M, Messias M, Rohe F, Merces MP, Silva Junior JS, Silva CR, Pinho GM, Koshkarian G, Nguyen MTT, Harada ML, Rabelo RM, Queiroz HL, Alfaro ME, Farias IP. Biogeography of squirrel monkeys (genus Saimiri):  south-central Amazon origin and rapid pan-Amazonian diversification of a lowland primate.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 82: 436-454.

Mercês MP, Lynch Alfaro JW, Ferreira WAS, Harada ML, Silva Júnior JS.  2015. Morphology and mitochondrial phylogenetics reveal the Amazon River separates two eastern squirrel monkey species: Saimiri sciureus and S. collinsi. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 82: 426-435.

Boubli JP, Ribas C, Lynch Alfaro JW, Alfaro ME, Silva MN, Pinho GM, Farias IP.  2015. Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Diversification on the Amazon: A Test of the Riverine Hypothesis for all Diurnal Primates of Rio Negro and Rio Branco in Brazil. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution  82: 400-412.

Wright KA, Wright BW, Ford SM, Fragaszy D, Izar P, Norconk M, Masterson T, Hobbs, DG, Alfaro ME, Lynch Alfaro JW. The effects of ecology and evolutionary history on robust capuchin morphological diversity. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 82: 455-466.

Buckner JC, Lynch Alfaro J, Rylands AB, Alfaro ME. 2014. Biogeography of the marmosets and tamarins (Callitrichidae). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 82: 413-425.

Lynch Alfaro JW, Oliveira SG, Veiga LM (2014) Activity Budget, Diet, and Habitat Use in the Critically Endangered Ka’apor Capuchin Monkey (Cebus kaapori) in Pará State, Brazil: A Preliminary Comparison to Other Capuchin Monkeys American Journal of Primatology 10.1002/ajp.22277

Lynch Alfaro JW,  Izar P, Ferreira RG (2014) Capuchin Monkey Research Priorities and Urgent Issues American Journal of Primatology 10.1002/ajp.22269

Santana SE, Lynch Alfaro J, Noonan A, Alfaro ME. (2013).  Adaptive response to social and ecological pressures drives the diversification of facial color patterns in catarrhinesNature Communications 4:2765.

Lynch Alfaro JW, Boubli JP, Olson LE, DiFiore A, Wilson B, Gutierrez-Espeleta GA, Chiou KL, Schulte M, Neitzel S, Ross V, Schwochow D, Farias I, Nguyen MTT, Janson CH, & Alfaro ME. (2012) Explosive Pleistocene range expansion leads to widespread Amazonian sympatry between robust and gracile capuchin monkeys.  Journal of Biogeography 39, 272-288.

Lynch Alfaro JW, Matthews L., Boyette AH, Macfarlan S J, Phillips KA, Falotico T, Ottoni E, Verderane M, Izar P, Schulte M, Melin A, Fedigan L, Janson C and Alfaro ME.  (2012) Anointing variation across wild capuchin populations:  a review of material preferences, bout frequency and sociality of anointing in Cebus and Sapajus.  American Journal of Primatology 74: 299-314

Lynch Alfaro JW, Silva Jr J de S e,  Rylands AB.  (2012) How different are robust and gracile capuchin monkeys?  An argument for the use of Sapajus and Cebus. American Journal of Primatology 74: 273-286

Santana S, Lynch Alfaro JW, Alfaro ME.  (2012) Adaptive evolution of facial colour pattterns in primates.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.2326

Boubli JP, Rylands AB,  Farias IP, Alfaro ME, Lynch Alfaro JW.  Cebus Phylogenetic Relationships: A Preliminary Reassessment of the Diversity of the Untufted Capuchin Monkeys. American Journal of Primatology 74: 381-394.

Chiou, K. L., Pozzi, L., Lynch Alfaro, J. W., and Di Fiore, A. (2011) Pleistocene diversification of living squirrel monkeys (Saimiri spp.) inferred from complete mitochondrial genome sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59, 736-745.

Rangel-Negrin, A, Alfaro, J. L., Valdez, R. A., Romano, M. C., and Serio-Silva, J. C.  (2009) Stress in Yucatan spider monkeys: effects of environmental conditions on fecal cortisol levels in wild and captive populations. Animal Conservation 12 (5): 496-502.

Lynch Alfaro, J. W. (2008)  Scream-Embrace displays in wild black-horned capuchin monkeys. American Journal of Primatology 70(6): 551-559.

Lynch Alfaro, J. W. (2007)  Subgrouping patterns in a group of wild Cebus apella nigritus. International Journal of Primatology 28(2): 271-289.

Serio-Silva, J. C., Lynch Alfaro, J. W., Hernandez Salazar, L.T. (2007), ECOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR OF TROPICAL PRIMATES, inInternational Commission on Tropical Biology and Natural Resources, [Eds. Kleber Del Claro et al.], in Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), Developed under the Auspices of the UNESCO, Eolss Publishers, Oxford ,UK, [].

Lynch Alfaro, J. W. (2005)  Male mating strategies and reproductive constraints in a group of wild tufted capuchin monkeys, Cebus apella nigritus. American Journal of Primatology 67(3): 313-328.

Altmann, J., Lynch, J.W., Nguyen, N., Alberts, S.C. and Gesquiere, L.R. (2004) Life-history correlates of steroid concentrations in wild peripartum baboons.  American Journal of Primatology 64: 95-106.

Lynch, J.W., Altmann, J., Njahira, M.N., Rubenstein, N. (2003) Concentrations of four fecal steroids in wild baboons: short-term storage conditions and consequences for data interpretation.  General and Comparative Endocrinology 132: 264-271.

Strier, K.B., Lynch, J.W., and Ziegler, T.E.  (2003) Hormonal changes during the mating and conception seasons of wild northern muriquis (Brachyteles arachnoides hypoxanthus).  American Journal of Primatology 61: 85-99.

Lynch, J.W., Ziegler, T.E., and Strier, K.B.  (2002) Individual and seasonal variation in fecal testosterone and cortisol in wild male tufted capuchin monkeys, Cebus apella nigritus.  Hormones and Behavior 41: 275.

Pleistocene diversification of living squirrel monkeys

Research Projects
Biological And Cultural Evolution In Neotropical Primates

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