My research combines the tools of nutrition, physiology, microbial ecology, and anthropology to answer critical questions in organismal biology. Specifically, I study the gut microbiota and how its responses to shifts in host diet or physiology affect host nutrition and health. Such interactions are likely to affect host fitness and have important  implications for host ecology and evolution. My work addresses these topics in both non-human primates and humans.


I got my first round of fecal samples yesterday, which was great. Today the monkeys slept a lot so the day was more relaxed. On the way back to my cabana from the forest, the collective van I hopped into was playing peppy, stereotypical Mexican music. There were three people squeezed in the front, one with a blue bandana tied around his neck. The man sitting next to me in the back had a giant basket of gum and candy and cigarettes for sale. The driver had looped a rosary around the rear-view mirror. In the middle of the windshield there was a small rubber chicken, a Jesus medallion, and an orange pine tree air freshener all attached with suction cups. A Virgin of Guadalupe sticker was up in the righthand corner of the windshield as well. All of this reminded me that I am in Mexico, and it put me in a good mood.


Things are going well in the field so far. I collected my first round of fecal samples today. It also rained like you would think it rains in the rainforest. The monkeys started howling at the same time. That combined with the thunder and the flooding trail made for quite a scene.

I had a few visa issues coming in since they marked my status incorrectly, but those are hopefully fixed now after hours of waiting in the immigration office. Now my biggest concerns are how to get to internet often enough to keep up with business and where to find the monkeys every morning.

Pictures to follow (depending on internet speed): 1) Villahermosa does flood. Drawing and photo of drawing by Meli (8 years old) of me flying over the pyramids in Palenque. 200 years of Mexican independence Palenque style. Monkeys and monkeys in binoculars.







Leaving for the field on September 12, 2010.

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