Katharine Jack

Scholarly Retreats
Type of work

Katharine Jack is a primate behavioral ecologist whose research examines male reproductive strategies and hormonal correlates of male dominance rank and life history status. Jack has studied a number of different primate species throughout her career, though the bulk of her research focuses on a population of white-faced capuchin monkeys (Cebus imitator) in the Santa Rosa sector of the Área de Conservación Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The Santa Rosa primate project began in 1983 and one of the longest running research projects focusing on wild primates. Jack began her research at the site in 1997, joining Dr. Linda Fedigan (University of Calgary) as a co-director in 2004 (they were joined by Dr. Amanda Melin, University of Calgary in 2011). Via Jack’s collaborations with the Santa Rosa research team and a number of experts in the areas of primate genetics and endocrinology, her research makes use of long-term demographic, life history, behavioral, and biological data (including microsatellites, major histocompatibility genes, and hormones). In addition, since beginning her studies in Santa Rosa, she has been intimately involved in the on-going study of the long-term population trends of the capuchin and howler monkeys in the park. Jack’s team has been conducting park-wide censuses of these two primates since 1983, in order to track the effects of forest protection, forest regeneration, and climate change on primate populations. During her retreat, Jack worked with colleagues Erin Riley and Stacey Tecot on a manuscript advancing a nature-based approach to the study of primates. They also drafted an outline and writing plan for a book based on this manuscript; working title “Being a primate: A nature-based approach to the study of primate behavior and adaptations”.