Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Photos and Videos From Duke Lemur Center Instagram "Meet The Scientist"



Earlier last week I was asked by Chris Smith, Education Specialist at Duke Lemur Center to talk about my research on their Instagram page. I was very excited to be able to engage the readers and Instagram followers, and talk about my color vision research as well as sharing interesting photos and videos of the ruffed lemurs. I have consolidated all the photos and videos I posted on Instagram below for posterity as well as those that cannot access Instagram. Click on the link below the photos to get to the original Instagram post.

I will also embed the original Instagram photos with captions and comments in separate posts. [June 30th] [July 1st] [July 2nd] [July 3rd].Thanks to those that participated!

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Last Week At Duke Lemur Center, For Now.

Halley, a black-and-white ruffed lemur at Duke Lemur Center.
Today is my last day at Duke Lemur Center (actually it was yesterday, the Duke Lemur Center is closed for July 4th this week). I've been here for about 2 months and I am very happy with my research progress. Although, I was naively expecting this to progress my faster. At first I thought I only needed a month to train the lemurs and another month for data collection (testing trials). Boy, was I wrong. I'm not, however, griping the fact that I have to stay in Durham, North Carolina longer than I expected to. I am actually enjoying working with the lemurs.

I am flying home this week and will stay in NYC for the rest of July. I will be back to Durham, North Carolina in August to continue working with the lemurs. Meanwhile my research assistant, Stephanie Tepper, will be helping me train the lemurs in my absence.

I am excited for this break because I cannot wait to spend time with my husband, and more importantly my cats. Also, I am not gonna front and tell you I won't miss the lemurs. Special shoutout to my puppy, Princess Luna Vagell, who is currently with her foster mama Jen. Love you all!!!

Raymond Vagell - Ruffed Lemurs Color Vision Instagram: July 3rd, 2015

Today I am posting short clip of Halley doing a two-choice discrimination task. I posted a video earlier this week of her doing a two-choice discrimination task with red and gray stimuli. This time, Halley will try to solve the task with red and green stimuli. Watch her solve the task! Anyone know why I'm testing her with red and green? Please Like and Comment. Tag your friends if you think they like lemurs! Video by @prancingpapio #dukelemurcenter #lemurs #lemur #lemuria #lemurian #animaltraining #positivereinforcement #primate #primateofinstagram #primates #ruffedlemur #blackandwhiteruffedlemur #varecia #variegata #colsci #color #colorvision #colorscience #animals #animal #animalcognition #cognition #cognitive #psychophysics #psychophysiology #psychology #anthropology #primatology #SMARTA #prancingpapio
A video posted by Duke Lemur Center (@dukelemurcenter) on


Group picture! My research assistant, Stephanie Tepper, and I in front of SMARTA. #SMARTA or Subject-Mediated Automatic Remote Testing Apparatus is the apparatus we use to test color vision in ruffed lemurs. Thank you Stephanie for helping me trained these lemurs and continuing to do so while I fly back to #NYC for the rest of July! A quick shout out to my adviser Dr. Andrea Baden and our lab, Primate Molecular Ecology Lab (#PMEL) at #HunterCollege #CUNY @huntercollege Thank you all for sticking around and your interest in my research, as well as the lemurs at #DukeLemurCenter. We will be at Duke Lemur Center this summer to continue working on our color vision study. Hopefully we will be able to share our findings with y'all soon! I hope everyone here in the #USA has a Happy Fourth of July and a happy weekend for those around the world. Thank you @dukelemurcenter for giving me this opportunity to spread my science. Unfortunately this will be my last post as the week is wrapping up. If you have any questions or comments, please stick around and continue the conversation. Gratefully yours, #RaymondVagell. ���������� Photo by @prancingpapio
A photo posted by Duke Lemur Center (@dukelemurcenter) on

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Raymond Vagell - Ruffed Lemurs Color Vision Instagram: July 2nd, 2015


Color vision is very important in primates. Presumably, the ability to perceive red is advantageous for finding ripe fruits in ruffed lemurs as they are frugivores. But do you know that all male ruffed lemurs cannot perceive red? The gene to perceive red is a sex-linked trait in ruffed lemurs and only females can inherit this gene to perceive red. The inability to perceive red is commonly known as "color blind" or dichromat while being a trichromat generally means an individual can perceive red. Most color blind humans are also males because in humans, trichromacy is also a sex linked gene. My work here in Duke Lemur Center is to investigate how ruffed lemurs perceive their world. Specifically, who can perceive red and who can't. Please Like and Comment. Tag your friends if you think they like lemurs! Photo by @prancingpapio #dukelemurcenter #lemurs #lemur #lemuria #lemurian #animaltraining #positivereinforcement #primate #primateofinstagram #primates #ruffedlemur #blackandwhiteruffedlemur #varecia #variegata #colsci #color #colorvision #colorscience #psychophysics #psychophysiology #psychology #anthropology #primatology #SMARTA #prancingpapio
A photo posted by Duke Lemur Center (@dukelemurcenter) on

A photo posted by Duke Lemur Center (@dukelemurcenter) on

Here's one of the black-and-white lemurs being trained to target a red square on SMARTA. Most of the time, the ruffed lemurs like to sit on their legs with their body erect when working on the apparatus. Imagine a human watching TV, sitting upright on the floor. Sometimes the lemurs would put one of their hand on top of SMARTA. In some rare cases, they do some really cute postures just like this one. Please Like and Comment. Tag your friends if you think they like lemurs! Photo by @prancingpapio #dukelemurcenter #lemurs #lemur #lemuria #lemurian #animaltraining #positivereinforcement #primate #primateofinstagram #primates #ruffedlemur #blackandwhiteruffedlemur #varecia #variegata #colsci #color #colorvision #colorscience #animals #animal #animalcognition #cognition #cognitive #psychophysics #psychophysiology #psychology #anthropology #primatology #SMARTA #prancingpapio
A photo posted by Duke Lemur Center (@dukelemurcenter) on

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Raymond Vagell - Ruffed Lemurs Color Vision Instagram: July 1st, 2015


Decisions. Decisions. These ruffed lemurs are trained to target a red square and then given two-choice discrimination tasks. Aptly named, the lemurs have two choices (stimuli) and they have to discriminate one over another (one gives food reward, and the other doesn't). Here, you see Halley doing her two-choice discrimination task and has to make a decision. What do you think? Do you think Halley "gets it"? Do you think she will touch the red square over the gray square? Will there be craisins in the horizon ...? Photo by @prancingpapio #dukelemurcenter #lemurs #lemur #lemuria #lemurian #animaltraining #positivereinforcement #primate #primateofinstagram #primates #ruffedlemur #blackandwhiteruffedlemur #varecia #variegata #colsci #color #colorvision #colorscience #psychophysics #psychophysiology #psychology #anthropology #primatology #SMARTA #prancingpapio
A photo posted by Duke Lemur Center (@dukelemurcenter) on