Monday, August 29, 2016

#IPSASP16 Poster Session



Novel skill acquisition in ruffed lemurs (Varecia spp.): Preliminary Data from SMARTA Color Vision Study at Duke Lemur Center

Raymond Vagell, Vance J. Vagell, Stephanie J. Tepper, Isabel M. Avery, Rachel L. Jacobs, James Gordon, & Andrea L. Baden.

Psychophysical studies are necessary for many questions related to the evolution of primate sensory systems, particularly in primate color vision, but such studies remain limited, especially in many lemur species. This may be in part because lemurs require extensive training to novel procedures. We trained ruffed lemurs (Varecia spp.) on the Subject-Mediated Automatic Remote Testing Apparatus (SMARTA) for a color vision pilot study at Duke Lemur Center from May to November, 2015. 18 animals were initially used but only 5 were trained. We selected animals based on their initial interest in participating and their continued interest across the first 20 sessions. Training time ranged from 42 to 265 minutes, across 32 to 172 sessions. We found no correlation between total training time and age, r(4) = 0.088, p = 0.888, or between number of training sessions and age, r(4) = 0.048, p = 0.940.Furthermore, we found no significant difference between sexes in mean total training time (t(3) = 0.29, p = 0.605) or total number of training sessions (t(3) = 0.243, p = 0.824). While acknowledging our sample size, we found no evidence that training is influenced by age and sex. Although training requires an initial time investment that varies across individual study subjects, the SMARTA helps to eliminate user bias and error, which outweighs the time investment.


A copy of my IPS/ASP 2016 poster (Vagell et al., 2016) can be downloaded here.

If you are interested in SMARTA, a copy of that poster (Vagell, Vagell, & Baden, 2015) can be downloaded here.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

I'm at The Joint International Primatological Society & American Society of Primatologists Conference in Chicago this week! #IPSASP16


I'm at IPS/ASP 2016 in Chicago this week! So excited to hear all these talks and to network with everyone.

I will be presenting a poster on training my ruffed lemurs to use SMARTA. The poster will be on Thursday, and I will have a PDF version of it online tomorrow.

If you are interested in SMARTA and my color vision study, you can read about it on:

Duke Lemur Center Spring 2016 Newsletter

Lemur Conservation Network

My ASP poster from last year! (Vagell et al., 2015)

I'm also currently looking for research assistants and am hoping I can find potential candidates at the conference. Know someone that like working with lemurs and are great with technology? Send them my way! Here's the Job Listing.

Please come talk to me at the conference! :)





Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Time Sadness

I'm still training and collecting data with the ruffed lemurs, more accurately, my assistants are still training and collecting data with the ruffed lemurs. After a minor hiccup with data collection (which I rather not discuss), I am back to square one collecting my color vision data. Unfortunately, all of the lemurs that had previous did testing trials seemed to had forgotten how to use SMARTA so we had to re-train them again. Well, everyone except Halley.

Yes, Halley, the black and white ruffed lemur. My pride and joy Halley. She had last used the SMARTA over 6 months ago and when I set that apparatus right in front of her, she remembered where she had left off. At the moment, Halley and Pandora are currently taking a break from my study because ... THEY GAVE BIRTH OVER A MONTH AGO! Halley gave birth to 2 boys (Cosmo and Astro) while Pandora gave birth to a boy (Kalani) and a girl (Sally).
 






Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Lemurpalooza: Thanks For Coming Out!


Lemurpalooza was a huge success. Despite the fact that it was hot and muggy out, many showed up to the event. Thanks to those that came and stopped by my table to chat with me about ruffed lemurs and color vision.

Here's a link to Duke Lemur Center's Facebook page Live Video if you have missed the event and would like to watch.