Anita Stone, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biology

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Phone: (805) 493-3068


  • Is fatter sexier or tougher? Reproductive strategies of squirrel monkeys in Amazonian Brazil
    Have you ever noticed that in many species of birds, the males show brighter, showier feather colors compared to the females, and even produce more elaborate songs? Birds are a great example of this sexual dimorphism, but some primate males also show these traits. My long-term research focuses on squirrel monkeys, which are small primates (under 2 lbs) that are agile and live in social groups of 40-50 individuals. I especially focus on the adult males. Why adult males? Because among primates, squirrel monkey males have a unique reproductive physiology, experiencing seasonal enlargement during the 2-month mating season. Quite literally, males "poof up" in order to breed - this is called "the fatted male phenomenon" (think football players in padded uniforms). The females show no weight change. As part of this research, I collect behavioral data on wild squirrel monkeys in Amazonian Brazil. This talk explores the mysterious fatted male phenomenon and how and why it may occur in these primates.

  • Monkeys, conservation and community involvement: long-term field research as a biologist at Vila Ananim, Brazil
    My field of study is primate behavioral ecology - I study how primates behave in relation to their natural environment. For the past 17 years, I have been researching wild Neotropical primates. Specifically, I focus on the long-term monitoring of a population of squirrel monkeys in Amazonian Brazil. The field site where I work is unusual. It is a small rural village surrounded by rainforest. And, the forest does not belong to a university, nor is it a legally protected park. It belongs to village residents. This presents a challenge for the wildlife because at any moment the forest could be cleared and/or the animals hunted. Yet, the forest has remained intact for the almost two decades I have been working there. In this talk, I discuss how my research on squirrel monkeys intersects with my involvement with the village community, and how this combination has helped with local conservation efforts.

Pronouns:  She/ella/ela

A native of Brazil, Dr. Stone is a behavioral ecologist specializing in Neotropical primates. Her field research takes place in Eastern Amazonia, where she has studied the same population of squirrel monkeys since 2000. Dr. Stone is interested in primate life histories, social behavior and sexual selection, and actively integrates undergraduate students into her fieldwork.  

Dr. Stone teaches Experimental Biology laboratory, Introduction to Ecology & Populations, Evolution, Primate Ecology, Animal Behavior, Biology of Sex & Gender and Scientific Literature.

When she is not at Cal Lutheran or chasing monkeys in the Amazon, Dr. Stone enjoys karaoke with her friends, and spending time with her Maine Coon cat, Floco.