Primatology and Conservation Online Course: Remote

Fundación Para La Tierra
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Fundación Para La Tierra (PLT) is a conservation NGO focused on the conservation of Paraguay’s endangered habitats through scientific research, education and community engagement. PLT runs the country’s only long-term primate research project. After several years of running highly successful field courses, we are moving our educational program online for the first time! This new online course is designed to provide a broad understanding of the Order Primates, primate behaviour, an introduction to different field techniques and how they can be applied to different studies, how to design a successful field project and different aspects of primate conservation. The course consists of four modules, each taught through video lectures and short activities that you can work through at your own pace. Each module has a recommended reading list and will conclude with a short exam to evaluate progress. The website will have a forum for communication with other students and the course leader to discuss any specific questions that arise during the course. On completion of the course students will receive a certificate of participation, a reference on request and academic transcripts. The course is led by PLT’s primatologist, National Geographic Explorer Rebecca Smith. Rebecca is the only professional primatologist in Paraguay and is a PhD candidate with the University of Aberdeen. She has worked with primates in both captive and wild settings in four countries and has studied the hooded capuchin in the Paraguayan Atlantic Forest since 2013. Course Content Module 1: Introduction to the Primates. · This module will focus on primate taxonomy, the distinguishing features of the primates and the diversity within the Order Primates. This is the shortest module. Module 2: Primate Behaviour. · This module focuses on primate behavioural ecology (with topics including feeding ecology, dominance, aggressive and affiliative behaviours, mother-infant relationships and cultural behaviour), social organisation and reproductive behaviour, cognition, demography, life histories and population dynamics. Module 3: Field Studies · This module focuses on how to design a study of primate behaviour and includes topics such as habituation, studying home ranges, census and survey methods, invasive and non-invasive biological sampling, habitat assessments and how to conduct behavioural experiments with wild primates. Module 4: Primate Conservation · This module will cover topics including ethnoprimatology and ethics in field primatology, species conservation status and how this contributes to conservation, in situ conservation action, captive breeding and ex situ conservation, primates in trade (including the commecial bushmeat trade, entertainment and pet trade) and the importance of environmental education for conservation. The learning objectives of the course are: 1. Understand the taxonomy and distinguishing features of the Order Primates. 2. Understand primate behaviour and be able to explain different aspects of behaviour in different species and how this relates to their life histories 3. Be able to design a study of primate behaviour with a robust understanding of the theory behind different field techniques. 4. Explain why ethics are important in field primatology and discuss common ethical questions that arise when conducting field work. 5. Understand the conservation status of different primate species. 6. Understand the biggest conservation issues facing different primate species. 7. Understand the importance of environmental education for in situ conservation.
REQUIREMENTS: • A passion for primates and learning! COSTS: This registration fee for this course is $300. APPLICATION DEADLINE: Registration is ongoing and the course can be completed at your own pace. To register, email Karina Atkinson at
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Karina Atkinson, Executive Director
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