Si el Norte Fuera el Sur
A Case of Squirrel Monkey Identities
In this case study, students are given the task of developing a recovery plan to protect a recently discovered population of Central American squirrel monkeys on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. In the process they must determine whether the population is a separate species or related to another species of monkeys in the area. The case was originally designed for a course on fundamentals of tropical biology. The activity is adapted from another case study in the NCCSTS case collection: "Trouble in Paradise: A Case of Speciation" by James A. Hewlett. Due to the open-ended nature of the activity, there is no separate answer key for this case.
- Review and consolidate their background understanding of evolutionary processes that give rise to speciation.
- Apply concepts of micro- and macro- evolution to the divergence of two populations of Central American squirrel monkey.
- Interpret simple data about squirrel monkeys, make inferences, and draw conclusions from that data.
- Produce an original evolutionary story about the divergence of two populations of squirrel monkeys, using actual and fabricated data.
- Learn the geography of southwest Costa Rica and understand the role of geography in generating species diversity.
- Understand the concept of species and the implications of this concept for conservation.
- Work cooperatively in small groups to develop skills in creative problem solving.
- Develop a collaborative relationship with fellow students in an academic and social environment.
Keywordssquirrel monkey; speciation; tropical forest; population recovery; directional selection; stabilizing selection; Ballena Marine; Costa Rica; Saimiri oerstedii
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsRole-Play
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Ecology | Zoology | Wildlife Management | Evolutionary Biology |