I am Claudio and I consider myself a zoologist and behavioral ecologist. Over the years, I have been very interested in the natural history of forest mammals and on wildlife’s resilience to human-modified landscapes.
I believe the natural history of wildlife has the potential to empower tourist guides in local communities for reaching sustainable economic activities, while protecting natural forest. Thus, to contribute to this endeavour, for example, I participate in research conducted in Coiba National Park, in the Pacific of Panama, about the behavior and natural history of the White-faced Capuchin monkey. Populations of this Neotropical primate can be found in three islands in the Coiba archipelago, lacking mammalian predators. These populations are of special interest because their populations exploit terrestrial niches more extensively than capuchins living in mainland (natural forests) sites with more intact predator communities. They are also the only populations to be known to habitually rely on hammerstone and anvil tool use to access structurally protected food items in coastal areas including Terminalia catappa seeds, hermit crabs, marine snails, terrestrial crabs and other items. I am part of an interdisciplinary and international team led by Dr. Brendan Barrett and Dr. Meg Crofoot. While the team continues collecting data for research, one of the next phases I hope to achieve is outreach activities and citizen sciences projects with mainland local communities. For now, we have done some outreach via newspapers and radio interviews.
On the other hand, to assess wildlife’s resilience to human-modified landscapes, I collect data in the landscape of the Panama Canal watershed. I mainly use camera traps to investigate what species of mammals are capable of living in timber plantations, gallery forest and patches of forests. All of which could either be surrounded by fields of crops (i.e. pineapple), cattle fields or rural areas. Simultaneously, I collect data in protected forests within the same landscape as a contrast. Moreover, I look at changes in the activity pattern (times of the day an animal is active) as a way to evaluate behavioral changes in these human-modified habitats. The Central American Agouti, Nine-banded armadillo, Paca, White-nosed coati and the Common opossum are some of the forest mammal species that can educate us on whether the habitats modified by humans are providing enough conditions for wildlife.
I also study edge effects on different roads, with different traffic intensity, located across protected forests. I installed camera traps on the edge of the roads and in the interior of the forests to contrast the frequency of visits of forest mammals, as a way to understand what species are more impacted by the network of roads that fragmentize forests.I also study edge effects on different roads, with different traffic intensity, located across protected forests. I installed camera traps on the edge of the roads and in the interior of the forests to contrast the frequency of visits of forest mammals, as a way to understand what species are more impacted by the network of roads that fragmentize forests.