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Mag. Tina Gunhold

"Transmission of information and tradition formation in common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus)"

e-mail: tina.gunhold@univie.ac.at

During my study of biology and especially my specialization in ethology and cognitive biology, I was able to gain experience in different areas of observational and experimental research and to work with different species, e.g. African elephants, polar bears, keas, crows, squirrels, mice, dogs, wolves and marmosets. In addition to my studies at the University of Vienna, I have participated in a number of practical training programs; among them a Dog Trainer Education (Supervisor: Turid Rugaas and Anne Lill Kvam) and a correspondence course in Animal Psychology at the Academy of Animal Naturopathy (Switzerland). Furthermore, I have been employed as project manager in an European research project (EDICI) at the Department of Neurobiology and Cognition Research. After my diploma thesis entitled “Sequence Learning and Observational Conditioning in Common Marmosets”, I was conducting a field project in Brazil on “Social Learning in Free-Living Marmosets”. This pre-study provided the basis for my current doctoral thesis. Additionally, I am the coordinator of the marmoset laboratory and I am supervising incoming students in practical courses.

 

My current research interests focus on social learning and traditions in non-human primates, using wild and captive common marmosets as a model system. Marmosets are a highly social tolerant, cooperative breeding New World monkey species, endemic to Brazil. My research uses observational and experimental techniques to examine the cognitive abilities and the role of social information in shaping the behaviour of individuals and groups. I conduct my research at the University of Vienna (laboratory) and in collaboration with the University of Recife in a fragment of Atlantic Forest in Pernambuco/Brazil (field). The wild marmosets at the site are habituated to close observation, allowing me to walk among them and collect detailed data without disturbing their natural behaviour. This advantage, normally restricted to the work with captive populations, enables me to conduct experiments while maintaining ecological validity and to gain comparative data to my laboratory studies.

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