Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Award 2015
Allison Howard, a recent doctoral graduate in psychology, studies animal travel patterns in natural environments and the decision-making processes that animals use to decide where to go. She began her work in animal movement for her master’s thesis using an experimental psychological approach in which captive capuchin monkeys used a laser pointer to indicate their choices for distant objects, which were delivered to them in the order they contacted them with the light point. For her dissertation, Howard analyzed monkeys’ movements in the wild. This challenging project required the integration of field observations, field experiments, computational techniques and remote sensing with satellite imagery, and it resulted in a powerful, cutting-edge treatment of the influence of landscape features on the movement and use of space of bearded capuchin monkeys. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Maryland’s Department of Biology.