In this installment of The PrimateCast we continue with our International Primatology Lecture Series: Past, Present and Future Perspectives of the Field.
The IPLS is dedicated to providing origin stories about experienced researchers of primatology and related fields, through lectures delivered by those very individuals. The lectures are conducted via Zoom within our CICASP Seminar in Science Communication for graduate students of our program, but we decided to release the audio right here on The PrimateCast.
Unlike most academic lectures, which are usually focused on testing scientific hypotheses, this series is designed to offer a feel for how one becomes a professional in the field of primatology. In a way, we might think of it as a career primer for young primatologists just starting their own journeys into the nether regions of Academia.
At the same time, anyone might enjoy the stories told of big dreams, exotic locations and species, and the humanity inherent in forging a new path in life and in work.
For anyone interested in viewing the video versions of these lectures, head over to CICASP's YouTube channel, where you can also watch them live as we stream our Zoom feeds there.
For the 6th international primatology lecture we invited Dr. Karen Strier to share her story with us.
Many of our listeners should be really familiar with Dr. Strier, as she was until recently president of the International Primatological Society and is the author of 6 editions of the famous textbook Primate Behavioral Ecology - which I assume many of you, like me many years ago, were trained on!
I was lucky enough to interview her for the podcast back in 2016 (#53) at the 26th Congress of the International Primatological Society that was held in Chicago and hosted by Lincoln Park Zoo. She had just become president of the IPS, so now I guess we can bookend her tenure with a follow up episode of The PrimateCast - nailed it!
But I thought we had a really great conversation back then, so it was nice to see the bigger picture of Karen’s work in this IPLS event. And, if you stay to the end, you’ll notice that I left in my own question of Dr. Strier, just because I thought her answer to it really helped fill out the story of why their work on muriquis matters so much, and what we still need to look out for.
In her talk, Karen covers how she got into primatology and ended up studying muriquis, also known as woolly monkeys - those rare faces in the forest, which she writes about so elegantly in a book of that name. Northern muriquis, her main study species, are among the most endangered primates, and the work that Karen and her colleagues have been doing is really shedding light on their ups and downs, and the threats they continue to face.
Karen Strier is Vilas Research Professor and Irven Devore Professor of Anthropology at the University of Madison - Wisconsin. For anyone who wants to know more about Dr. Strier, check out her lab's homepage on the University of Wisconsin's website.
As always, join us on this podcast, and browse among loads of other audio content to hear from primatologists and conservationists from around the world.
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Image Caption: Poster for International Primatology Lecture Series: Past, Present and Future Perspectives of the Field #6 with Dr. Karen Strier
Photo Courtesy: Karen Strier
Cover Art: Chris Martin
The PrimateCast Music: Andre Goncalves
Closing Credits: Katherine Majewski