Back to Brasilia in 1990, I worked with lizard behavior and also with a bit of molecular biology techniques linked to ecology. This was a very interesting study, because we were testing the possibility of using a technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to identify different DNA (the genetic identification code of an organism) sequences in related lizard species of the genus Tropidurus. DNA fingerprinting with PCR is a powerful tool for ecologists.
In 1992, I worked with termite ecology, but in 1994 I was back again working with primates, this time with marmosets of the species Callithrix penicillata, or the black-tufted-ear marmoset. I really decided then that I should continue working with primates as they are very interactive (and cute, also!).
In 1996, I started my masters degree here at the National Institute for Research in the Amazon, INPA. Originally, I had planned to work with primate ecology, but unfortunately (or fortunately, I still dont know), there was no monkey business going on around here. Anyhow, working with primates is very time-consuming, and since we have only two years to finish our masters thesis, I might have ended up with no data to work on.
Instead, I had a chat with Dr. Claude Gascon, who is the Scientific Coordinator of the BDFFP. He said that he had an idea for a project, which would be working with linear remnants of forest alongside streams to see if they could be used as wildlife corridors to link forest fragments together. These corridors could prevent the extinction of local populations of different animals as well as function as vegetation reserves. We thought the project would be a piece of cake, and I would finish data collecting in a few months. We decided that we would work with small mammals (basically wild rats and possums) and frogs. Well, seven months after (and several pounds lighter!), I finished the sampling.
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