The Team

Primary Investigators

Dara BioDara Adams is a Ph.D. candidate at The Ohio State University. She received her Master’s degree in Anthropology in 2008 from Texas State University. Her master’s research focused on bald-faced saki monkey vocal communication, during which time she recorded and analyzed over 1,500 vocalizations and established a preliminary vocal repertoire of the species. Dara has returned to the site annually and expanded her research on sakis to include predator-prey dynamics, alarm calling, and habitat preference. She is conducting her dissertation research “Risk perception and anti-predator strategies in an Amazonian primate” at the Los Amigos Biological Station until August 2015.

Dawn BioDawn Kitchen is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on the social behavior and communication of non-human primates. Dr. Kitchen has extensive experience studying primate vocalizations, with past research investigating the role of loud calls in mediating male-male competition in chacma baboons (Papio hamadryas ursinus) of Botswana and black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) of Belize. Her current research focuses on vocal and behavioral variation in a howler monkey in hybrid zone in  Mexico.

Field Veterinarians

Renata Bio Photo 2Renata Leite-Pitman is a wildlife veterinarian and research Associate at Duke University’s Center for Tropical Conservation. Renata is assisted with the capture and radio-collaring of ocelots for the project. She has over 20 years experience trapping and radio-collaring felids and other mammals and conducting camera trap surveys of rare mammals in Brazil and Peru. Her current research focuses on the ecology and conservation of the short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis). Read this Mongabay article to learn more about her research.


Nancy BioNancy Carlos graduated as a veterinarian (with a specialization in wildlife conservation) at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru. She is now a Master’s student in Zoology at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. Nancy has participated in various research projects on ecology and physiology in rainforest mammals and birds, assisting with captures and assessing health issues. She is currently affiliated with the Conservation Medicine Division in the Center of Ornitology and Biodiversity (CORBIDI) and is a university professor in Peru.

Jesus BioJesús Lescano graduated in 2009 from the School of Veterinary Medicine, San Marcos University (Lima, Peru). In 2012, he obtained the Veterinary Physician title at the same institution. His field work experience includes capture and chemical immobilization of bats, rodents, marsupials and canids. His research is currently focused on the epidemiology of infectious diseases in Sechuran foxes (Lycalopex sechurae) and the assessment of chemical immobilization protocols in Tamarins (Saguinus spp.) and Owl Monkeys (Aotus spp.). His main areas of interest are: infectious diseases of wildlife, conservation education, and  anesthesia of wildlife.


Marisabel Bio PhotoMarisabel Ureta Adrianzén is a research associate at Missouri Botanical Garden – Perú. She received her Master’s degree in Biodiversity in Tropical Areas and Conservation in 2013 from Menendez Pelayo International University, Spain. She is also a botanical illustrator and has 9 years of fieldwork experience in ethnobotany, phenology and camera trap monitoring for conservation organizations. Her personal research focuses on neotropical Myristicaceae. She recently published on aboveground biomass input of Myristicaceae in Amazonian rainforest as part of the catalogue species and distribution of Myristicaceae from Perú and continues this research today.

Fiorella BioFiorella Briceño is a biologist with 5 years experience working for conservation organizations and carrying out research on primate ecology, behavior, and conservation. From 2012-2013 she studied the social and feeding behavior of Yellow-tailed woolly monkeys (Oreonax flavicauda) in Amazonas Peru. She has also worked with local conservation initiatives to develop scientific inventories of flora and fauna, participated in wildlife rescue operations, and assisted on projects to promote sustainable development at the local level to preserve the habitat of the primates of Peru. Fiorella is currently studying primate ecology and conservation at George Mason University.

Gareb websiteGareb Coayala is from Cusco and currently attends the Universidad Nacional Amazónica de Madre de Dios in Puerto Maldonado, where he is a fourth year student in veterinary medicine. Gareb aspires to work as a wildlife veterinarian and has a keen interest in parasitology. As an intern, Gareb assists with collecting behavioral data on saki monkey groups, conducting telemetry on ocelots, and is shadowing one of our project veterinarians Jesús Lescano during the capture and immobilization of ocelots. In his free time, Gareb enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with friends.

Research Assistants

Missy BioMissy Painter received her B.A. in Communication and Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Before joining the saki research team, Missy worked at Rare, an international conservation organization based in Washington, D.C. Her previous field experience includes volunteering on a sea turtle research and conservation project off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, and a jaguar monitoring project in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Missy is interested in animal behavior and communication, as well as tropical ecology and conservation. She plans to begin graduate studies in 2016.

Christina Bio PicChristina Vojta is a conservation biologist with the Landscape Conservation Initiative at Northern Arizona University, and is adjunct faculty in the School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability. She earned a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology from Utah State University and worked as a wildlife ecologist for the Forest Service for over 20 years. Her research has focused on the effects of landscape pattern on American marten (Martes Americana) and northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis).

deniseDenise Peterson is currently studying natural resource management and wildlife biology at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Future research interests include mountain lion dispersal, habitat suitability, and reintroduction potential in North America. Denise is pursuing a certification in GIS technologies and has a passion for wildlife photography. She plans to obtain certification in wildlife handling and chemical immobilization and possibly continue on to graduate studies.  In her spare time she enjoys rock and ice climbing, mountain biking, and camping.

kittles bioKatharine (Kitt) Richards is an undergraduate student at Grinnell College where she studies Biology and Anthropology. Having travelled extensively throughout Central and South America throughout her childhood, Kitt was eager to spend the summer conducting research in Peru. She is particularly interested in studying mother-infant relationships and group hierarchies in non-human primates. In her spare time, Kitt enjoys playing varsity soccer and tennis for her college and volunteering at her local veterinary clinic. She plans to pursue a career in Primatology or Veterinary Medicine.

CarlyCarly Fitzpatrick is an M.A. student in the Anthropology Department at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science and Anthropology from Washington State University (2013). As an undergraduate, Carly conducted research plotting the incidence of violent trauma on human bone through the Mesa Verde and northern Rio Grande regions, which was published in American Antiquity in 2014. She also participated in a paleoanthropological field school through the University of Wisconsin- Madison, at Swartkrans in South Africa. Over the years, Carly has been involved in community-oriented projects outside of Nairobi, Kenya and through parts of the Maasai lands.

  Erica Charnock is a third year Ecology major with a Geographic Information Science minor at Pennsylvania State University. Erica became interested in field research during participation in a biodiversity and climate change course in Panama. As part of the course, she was able to study birds, plants, and sea turtles, which caused her to fall in love with biological research in the tropics. Erica participated in our project from June to August 2014 conducting full day follows on saki monkeys. She will continue her independent research at Penn State and plans to get back to field research as soon as possible.

Darcy BioDarcy Doran-Myers is a fourth-year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University with a major in Evolution & Ecology and a minor in Cultural Anthropology.  She has a particular interest in predators as top-down regulators of ecosystems. In Ohio, she studies bobcats with remote camera-trapping and examines their interactions within the ecosystem. She hopes to continue her work in predator ecology and conservation as she moves onto graduate school in 2015. Outside of school, Darcy is a yoga instructor and likes to play with her cat TJ.

Chloe taking dataChloë Wright is a final year anthropology undergraduate at the University of Durham, UK. Working on the saki team was her second experience in the field, after spending a summer following samango monkeys with the Primate and Predator Project at Lajuma, South Africa. She is particularly interested in the evolution of primate communication and cognition, and hopes to continue to postgraduate study in 2015. In her spare time, Chloë practices karate and loves to travel and learn new languages.

EmilyEmily Jones is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Davis where she plans to receive her B.S. in Evolutionary Anthropology in 2015. She has a range of animal experience in medicine and behavior but after spending the summer of 2013 at Chimps Inc., a chimpanzee and lynx sanctuary in Oregon, her passion for primate behavioral ecology and conservation biology has become her focus. She plans to continue her education and pursue a career in conservation and wildlife ecology.

Local Assistants

Marlon bioMarlon Guerra Vargas lives in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. He has worked in conservation biology since 2005, when he began work as a park guard at Bahuaja-Sonene National Park. Marlon has experience trapping and radio collaring huanganas (Tayassu pecari) for the World Wildlife Fund, and jaguars (Pantera onca) and pumas (Puma concolor) in conjunction with San Diego Zoo. Recently, Marlon was hired to work with the Discovery Channel to search for and trap green anacondas (Eunectes murinus). When he is not working, Marlon enjoys spending time on his family castañal (brazil nut agro-forestry concession) or in the city fabricating things for his home.

Alberto BioAlberto Escudero is from Puerto Maldonado, Peru. He has over 10 years experience working for conservation organizations (such as The World Wildlife Fund and Fundación Backus) in addition to assisting on conservation-based research projects. He has experience capturing, radio collaring, and monitoring bush dogs (Speothos venaticus), studying feeding behavior and diet of macaws at various sites in Madre de Dios, and collecting and processing botanical samples for The Carnegie Institute for Science. In the future, Alberto would like to convert the medicinal garden on his chacra (small farm plot) into an ethno-botanical education center for local students.