Jessica Lynch Alfaro, Ph. D.
Principal Investigator
Associate Director, Center for Society and Genetics at UCLA

Jessica Lynch Alfaro is the Associate Director for the Center for Society and Genetics at UCLA. She co-edits the journal Neotropical Primates, a publication of Conservation International. She received her B.A. in English at the University of California, Davis and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Dr. Lynch Alfaro is a biological anthropologist whose research centers on the evolution of diversity in socially learned behaviors, mating strategies and social structuring in Neotropical primates. Her research focuses most strongly on the genus Cebus, the capuchin monkeys. 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.

Her research is funded in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0833375.