Alisa Chalmers (M1)

Utilizing the Japanese Macaque as a primate model, I would like to analyze the effect of environment (including nutrition) on life history traits and hormone levels. To this end, I am collecting fecal samples from females of three different environments to reflect the captive, provisioned, and wild conditions. The fecal samples will be analyzed for estrogen to determine relative onset of fertility and reproductive senescence. They will also be further analyzed for DHEAS, an established primate biomarker for longevity and senescence. This data will be correlated with life history data from all populations to show historical values for age at first birth, last birth, interbirth interval, and lifespan.

Since October of 2006 (upon my arrival to Japan), I have collected all life history data for the Arashiyama population extending from individuals born as early as 1954. Life history data for the captive and wild populations will be gathered onsite during field excursions this summer to the Primate Research Institute and Yakushima. Fecal samples from 36 of the 118 (30.5%) females at the Arashiyama site have been collected. Protocols for the analysis of DHEAS from fecal matter have also been established in collaboration with DHEAS experts and companies that manufacture DHEAS antibodies.