Her research expedition to a remote watershed in Brazil to look for a missing a saki monkey (Pithecia vanzolinii) that was collected for museums in the 1930s, but had not been reported alive since. Continue...
Laura K. Marsh, Ph.D.
Dr. Marsh organized her four month long "Houseboat Amazon Expedition” to document the biodiversity in the region near Brazil's border with Peru—but with a special focus on finding the Vanzolini bald-faced saki monkey, long thought be extinct. The Vanzolini saki has shaggy black hair and distinctive golden legs and was first documented in 1936. On the Expedition, Dr. March spotted the monkey running among the trees on all fours. Lacking the prehensile tail of other monkeys, it moved more like a cat. The saki expert told National Geographic: "I was trembling and so excited I could barely take a picture."
The researchers were all trained field biologists. Since the study area had no mammal baseline data, the researchers did a "wall to wall" mammal survey and reported everything that they encountered. The Expedition recorded all aspects of population dynamics and ecology for 20 primate species; documented over 80 mammal species; and all birds, reptiles (including anaconda and boas) and amphibians encountered. Dr. Marsh is leading the publications on all aspects of the science, conservation, and resource use never before documented in this region.
The researchers also learned about hunting, fishing, and forest use by the local people.
The researchers performed their surveys in very difficult conditions. For example, Dr. Marsh got up before dawn, put on heavy long pants, long sleeves, boots and hat in 100% humidity and up to mid-90 degrees to go slogging through various habitats, covered in biting insects and mud. And often in heavy pouring rain so intense that their field work had to cease. Sometimes the researchers had to swim across channels in all of their clothes with all of their gear.
Dr. Marsh has lived, worked, and traveled in 30 countries, studying everything from
plants to monkeys to jaguars to people in tropical rainforests. Dr. Marsh is the director and co-founder of the Global Conservation Institute in the U.S. and a primate ecologist specializing in fragmented habitats. She is known for two volumes of the text, “Primates in Fragments.”
While doing field research in Ecuador, Dr. Marsh began to suspect that there might be more species of saki monkeys than previously understood. Dr. Marsh concluded that scientists had been confused in their evaluation of the diversity of sakis for over two centuries. Dr. Marsh did 10 years of research including the examination of specimens in 36 museums in 17 countries in North America, South America, Europe and Japan.
Her research established a total of 16 total saki monkey species, 5 of them new to science. Her research resulted in a major revision of the taxonomy of the saki monkeys which was announced at the 25th Congress of the International Primatological Society.
The Queen Mary on Saturday, October 27, beginning at 6:30 pm, in the elegant and historic Queen's Salon on the Promenade Deck.
The dress code is dark suit, black tie optional. NOHA is our yearly formal gathering, with most members opting for black tie, military uniforms or tribal wear.
There is a no-host bar for a cocktail reception beginning at 6:30, with silent auction tables set up in the bar area.
Included is admission to the Queen Mary, full access, so guests can come early and enjoy the ship. The ship's Observation Bar will be open, and will have the USC football game on.