ISG Associate Director, Jessica Lynch-Alfaro, recently published “Capuchin Monkey Research Priorities and Urgent Issues” in the American Journal of Primatology.


The “Capuchin research community roundtable: working together towards a comparative biology of Cebus and Sapajus” was held at the International Primatological Society Congress in Cancún, Mexico, August 2012. Goals of the roundtable were to strengthen interactions among the capuchin research community, and to prioritize and coordinate research and training in a more systematic and interactive way in light of increasing conservation urgency. New phylogenetic and biogeographic evidence highlights the distinct evolutionary histories of the two radiations of capuchin monkeys, Cebus (untufted or gracile capuchins) and Sapajus (tufted or robust capuchins), that were formerly lumped under Cebus, and points to a higher number of species, or Evolutionarily Significant Units, in each compared to past capuchin taxonomies. Many of the lesser-known species face increasing fragmentation and destruction of habitat, and most populations of still non-threatened species face encroachment from human settlements. Here, we present capuchin research priorities and urgent issues based on the discussion by capuchin researchers in the roundtable. These include a call for the immediate end to the use of the name Cebus apella and the employment of the term Sapajus spp. instead for captive robust capuchins of unknown origin; for the implementation of rapid assessments for previously unstudied capuchin species or populations in biomes of interest; for the development of standardized methods to allow for comparative analyses across capuchin field sites; and for the creation and maintenance of an open-access website for capuchin monkey data. Finally, we planned the creation of an international Capuchin Action Network, to help disseminate research information; to work as a research community in a more efficient, collaborative manner; to help prioritize research and conservation goals as a community of experts; and to strengthen our political voice. Am. J. Primatol. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.