Alexa Duchesneau

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Yale U.

Grant number

Gr. 10501

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Duchesneau, Alexa (Yale U.) "Nutrition, diet, life history and fitness: A case study with female white-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus)"

Optimal nutrition is important to the survival and reproduction of many species, especially those requiring long periods of growth and development. Humans may live longer, overall, and be less susceptible to early mortality if they adjust nutritional strategies throughout life. To understand the underlying factors that link nutrition to current versus future reproduction, referred to as life history, detailed nutritional data must be collected on the same individual over many life stages. This is difficult for very long-lived species such as humans, but it is possible to collect high-quality data in shorter lived primates with similar adaptations and use them as models to understand these relationships. White-faced capuchins (Cebus capucinus) have independently evolved many similarities to humans, as related to dietary and life history strategies. They have broad, flexible omnivorous diets, and relative to other primates of similar body size, they have long lifespans and long periods of growth. This project uses capuchins that have been studied throughout their entire lives as models to explore relationships between nutrition, diet, life history and fitness and investigate the following question: How much variation in fitness outcomes can be explained by nutrient and food intake across life history stages?