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Jessica Lynch

Department: Anthropology, Institute for Society and Genetics
Keywords: Biological Anthropology, Environment, Amazonia

Jessica Lynch is a Professor in the Institute for Society and Genetics and the Department of Anthropology. She is a member of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group and co-editor for the journal Neotropical Primates, a publication of Conservation International.

Lynch is a biological anthropologist whose research centers on the evolution of behavioral and morphological diversity in Neotropical primates. Her research focuses most strongly on understanding the diversity within capuchin monkeys (Sapajus and Cebus), and incorporates phylogenomic and biogeographic analyses. Like humans, capuchins are a recent and successful radiation of weedy generalists, able to survive even in marginal habitats through extractive foraging and tool use. Populations of capuchin monkeys in the wild differ markedly from one another in social and sexual behaviors and in grouping patterns, and thus provide an excellent system for comparative study of both cultural and genetic variation.

Currently Lynch is studying mate choice, immigration and MHC genes in wild Cebus capucinus in collaboration with Katharine Jack (Tulane University), and genomic evolution in robust capuchins (Sapajus) with Patrícia Izar (University of Sāo Paulo). Her research is funded by FAPESP and the Louisiana Board of Regents.