Researchers Update

From time to time we will provide you with an update on what the researchers we have worked with in the past are doing now. Just because we aren't with them doesn't mean that they aren't still out there in the field collecting more data. Sometimes though, they do return home to analyze their data, write reports about their findings, and present this information at conferences around the country.

Tamara McGuire, Amazon River Dolphins

After leaving the Peruvian Amazon last year, Tamara returned to the United States to write her dissertationfor her Ph.D. which she received. Congratulations!

Never one to stay in one place too long, Tamara left to volunteer on the Proyecto Boto in the Mamiraua Nature Reserve in the Brazilian Amazon, near the town of Tefe. The project is run by Dr. Vera da Silva of INPA Brazil, and Dr. Tony Martin of the British Antarctic Survey. She was there six months, living on a floating research station in the Reserve. Tamara learned about tagging and tracking botos while studying their individual movements and relationships with other botos. They captured dolphins to tag and release, so they were able to determine the age, sex, and exact size of animals that were captured and marked. The dolphins were all released back into the water without harm.

Tamara has returned to the United States once again and has taken a job as the coordinator for the Marine Mammal Stranding Network in Oregon based out of Newport. She will be working with volunteers, doing environmental education, and conducting research.

Lindsay Magnuson, Roloway Monkeys

After returning from Ghana last year, Lindsay spent six months wading through stacks and stacks of paper and spreadsheet uponspreadsheet of data, drafting her paper for her Master’s degree in natural resources, and wildlife management, which she received.

It may come as a surprise that conducting research in the field is really only part of the duties scientists undertake. After collecting all of her data on Roloway monkeys in Ghana, Lindsay needed to come home and analyze the data through statistical analysis to answer the key questions her research intended to answer. After analyzing the data, Lindsay compiled this information into a scientific report including the following sections: an introduction that outlined all previous scientific studies carried out on Roloway monkeys and other canopy primates, a section that described the study area in which she conducted her research, a description of the methods she used to locate the monkeys and assess their general habitat use patterns, a section that outlined the results that she found, and a discussion of how her results compared to other scientific studies as well as how her work was biologically significant. The final thesis paper was 80 pages including several figures and graphs to illustrate the results that she found (can you imagine writing a paper that long!). Lindsay also hopes to publish her results in a professional scientific journal but that can take up to two years!

But, the work doesn’t stop there. Last summer Lindsay presented the results of her study at a scientific conference. She also attended the annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists in Lake Charles, Louisiana where many other scientists presented their own data for the scientific community to learn about.

January 2003, Lindsay returned to Ghana. Using the information she learned on her previous trip she is hoping to implement some of the recommendations she made in order to reduce the hunting pressure facing primates in Ghana and encourage the survival of the critically endangered Roloway monkey.

Lindsay and her field assistant Marlon are now back in Ankasa Reserve walking the forests looking for Roloway monkeys. This time not only have they spotted some but Lindsay reports that she has also heard chimpanzees! No one has been able to confirm chimps in Ankasa for 5 to 10 years! This is very exciting news.

Lindsay also reports that the research station has had some major improvements while she was away—flush toilets and electricity supplied by solar power!

If you have specific questions for Lindsay you can email her at

* Statistical analysis is a specific field of mathematics with mathematical tests that scientists use to look for relationships and trends in the data they have collected. Lindsay used several different statistical tests including a correlation analysis, 2-sample T-test, Wilcoxon Signed ranks test and Logistic Regression. This is where your math skills come in handy as a scientist!