Spence-Aizenberg, Andrea Marie

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Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
  • Publication
    Olfactory Communication, Mate Choice, And Reproduction In A Pair-Bonded Primate (aotus Spp.)
    (2017-01-01) Spence-Aizenberg, Andrea Marie
    Primates are typically considered microsmatic (i.e., having a relatively less developed sense of smell) when compared to other mammals, yet it is becoming increasingly clear that olfaction is an important sense involved in communication in numerous primate taxa, including humans. Still, compared to other social and mating systems, little is known about olfactory communication in strictly monogamous non-human primates. Here, a comprehensive approach using chemical, behavioral, and hormonal data is used to explore how putative olfactory signals may mediate the formation and maintenance of the social and sexual relationship between mates in a socially and genetically monogamous New World primate, the owl monkey (Aotus spp.). This dissertation couples data collected from a captive population of A. nancymaae, and from a wild population of A. azarae as part of the Owl Monkey Project, a long-term project in Formosa, Argentina. Chapter 2 includes a robust chemical analysis of volatile components in the glandular secretions of captive and wild owl monkeys, and identified sex, age, gland of origin, and possibly individual identity as biologically relevant information encoded in these secretions. Chapter 3 investigates potential chemosignals of relatedness. Captive owl monkeys differentially responded to odors based on the relatedness to scent-donor, suggesting a chemosignal of relatedness. Wild pairs showed greater estimates of genetic relatedness than expected with random mating, suggesting individuals in this population do not avoid inbreeding, and likely use some mechanism to recognize kin. Chapter 4 explores female fecundity as a potential chemosignal. Captive males discriminated between the reproductive phases of females using olfactory cues alone. However, behavioral and olfactory behaviors of both captive and wild breeding pairs showed these cues are of limited significance. Finally, chapter 5 takes a broader perspective, considering the role of sexual selection on olfactory communication in owl monkeys. Owl monkey olfactory traits are dimorphic, and this, coupled with the potential role chemosignals may play in reproduction and mate choice, suggest sexual selection has influenced chemical communication in owl monkeys. Still, the degree of dimorphism is reduced compared to other primates. This dissertation expands our knowledge of how olfactory communication may vary with social and mating patterns.
  • Publication
    Affiliative Behaviors in Pairbonded Red Titi Monkeys (Callicebus Discolor)
    (2010-05-17) Spence-Aizenberg, Andrea
    Adult titi monkeys (Callicebus spp.) form strong pairbonds and reside in socially monogamous groups. In addition, adult males are heavily involved in infant care, exhibiting a degree of direct investment unusual even among primate species with paternal care. Most of the research exploring the nature of these social bonds has focused on captive populations, and data on wild titi populations are limited. In particular, data quantifying the pairbond and exploring the costs of infant care are rare for wild titi monkeys. I analyzed data from two groups of titi monkeys (Callicebus discolor) in Yasuní National Park and Biosphere Reserve and quantified the affiliative social interactions between the adult male and the adult female in the group to determine 1) the frequency and type of affiliative behaviors exhibited by pairmates, 2) whether there is evidence for sex differences in maintenance of affiliative behaviors and proximity, and 3) whether there is evidence of social costs within a pair during the period when infant care is provided. The most frequent affiliative behaviors involved pairmates resting in close proximity to each other. In addition, males and females spent significantly less time within five meters of each other when they were providing direct infant care, consistent with the prediction that infant care may correlate with a decrease in affiliative behaviors between pairmates. Although no solid conclusions can be drawn from this preliminary study given the small sample size, this research provides data suggesting that the presence of a dependent infant may influence the quality of the relationship between pairmates.