Field Research

Proyecto Tití has been studying cotton-top tamarins in Colombia for more than 30 years. We have the longest running field study of wild cotton-top tamarins and are the only program that has the ability to compare and contrast cotton-top tamarins ability to adapt and survive at 3 unique research sites. Our first field site in Colosó, provided the first insights into the complex social organization of cotton-top tamarins. As our program expanded into the department of Bolivar, we began our long-term studies at Hacienda El Ceibal (The Parque Natural Regional Ceibal – Mono Tití) and expanded our understanding of reproductive strategies and feeding ecology at our third site in San Juan Nepomuceno. In the Sanctuario de Flora and Fauna Los Colorados, we are able to study cotton-tops in an areas surrounded by our forest restoration efforts and hope to be able to document how animals from this site begin to use the newly create forest corridors.  

Studying such a tiny monkey is no easy task given how easily they can hide in the dense forest vegetation.  Proyecto Tití developed techniques that allowed our team to identify individual animals and locate groups with ease. Animals are marked with hair dye to allow for individual identification. An adult male in each group is fitted with a radio transmitter in a backpack-style harness which allows for ease in locating the animals using radio telemetry equipment. As animals are habituated to the presence of our field team, we have been able to get new insights into the complex life of cotton-top tamarins in the wild.
In collaboration with Dr. Len Thomas, University of St. Andrews, Proyecto Tití has pioneered field techniques to estimate the abundance of wild cotton-top tamarins in Colombia. This research has been instrumental in helping us to understand how effective conservation efforts are in helping to maintain a viable population of cotton-top tamarins in Colombia.

In collaboration with Dr. Catharine Wheaton, Dr. Susan Shideler and Dr. Bill Lasley, Proyecto Tití has applied the use of enzyme immunoassays to measure hormones in fecal samples collected from wild cotton-top tamarins. These techniques have allowed us to understand how social and environmental variables can influence reproductive outcomes.  
In collaboration with Greg Shear of Narwhal systems, we have created a field data collection app and data management system that allows us to efficiently collect, store, and process data collected at our various sites.

Tracking Tamarins in the Forest
© Suzi Eszterhas
Cotton-top Tamarin with Transmitter
© Suzi Eszterhas
Field Team Taking Notes
© Suzi Eszterhas