ProjectCosts of dominance in male primates
In mammals, female reproductive success is primarily limited by access to food, whereas male reproductive success is limited by access to mates. Since fertilizations cannot be shared among males, they compete for access to females and do so primarily by jostling for dominance rank since high-ranking males often father more offspring. However, not all males are created equal! That is, not all males are able to compete successfully, suggesting that there are costs to obtaining and maintaining high dominance rank and some males are better than others at mitigating those costs. I will investigate the costs of dominance with respect to health (i.e., parasite infection, nutrition, and stress hormones) in the context of male competition (i.e., dominance, testosterone) in red colobus monkeys (Procolobus rufomitratus). As part of my larger research program on male dominance, these data will be collected over a six-month field season in Kibale National Park, Uganda, and in a manner allowing me to make comparisons to similar data I have already collected on white-faced capuchin monkeys (Cebus capucinus). This comparative perspective will allow me to test the hypothesized trade-offs between health, and ultimately survival, and the effort males expend to be high ranking, and to ask how and why some males obtain and maintain high reproductive effort despite the apparent costs.