Dr. Laura K. Marsh, PhD, Global Conservation Institute [USA]. Laura grew up in southern California bird watching with her dad from the age of two. At 18, she stepped into a rainforest for the first time as a volunteer on a primate study. This experience led her to create one of the first K-12 curriculums on tropical rainforests. Many years later as a post-doc, she was invited to confirm the primates at Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Ecuador. As she was scanning the canopy for primates, she suddenly noticed a monkey calmly looking down at her from a nearby branch over the trail. She later identified it as an undescribed saki monkey. The experience led her to rewrite the saki monkey taxonomy, becoming the world’s leading expert in Pithecia, and to create and lead the Houseboat Amazon Expedition. She serves as a cautionary tale to the rest of the HBA team. After hearing her stories about getting leishmaniasis in Belize, hemorrhagic dengue from mosquitos in Peru, and hookworm from a tapir (just to name a few), we are all now disciplined about wearing repellent and long sleeves to the field!
Felipe Ennes Silva, MS, Mamirauá Institute [Brasil]. Felipe is from outside of Porto Alegre in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil where he spent his childhood fishing and roaming the forests of the countryside. In college, his love of nature turned into a love of primates when he worked with a student group called Macacos Urbanos (Urban Monkeys) to map the distribution of howler monkeys near the city and advocate for their protection. He learned to do pure research under his graduate advisor, professor Bicca-Marques, but he still prefers the research-activist approach he learned with Macacos Urbanos. He met Laura in 2005 as an undergraduate student when she visited his field project. In 2012, began organizing expeditions to the Aripuana River to survey primate populations with a focus on marmosets. He is currently working on his PhD on the taxonomy, distribution, and conservation of bald-headed Uakaris. He joins the expedition as a field researcher and provider of nighttime entertainment by swinging a bug zapping tennis racket while singing the theme of Highlander.
Lisely Lemos, BA, Mamirauá Institute [Brazil]. Lisley grew up in Betim a small town outside of Bello Horizonte in Minas Gerias, Brazil. As a child, she was afraid of everything, including the forest and bugs. Later in life, she saw this as a challenge to overcome and pursued a degree in biology. As an undergraduate Lisley studied the vocal communication of four primate species in Atlantic forest in south Minas Gerias. Having learned of Mamirauá Institute and the work of Márcio Ayers, she realized her dream to work there when she received a scholarship to study the effect of hunting practices on primate populations in Mamirauá. She met Laura on her first reconnaissance trip to the Amazon for the HBA expedition in May 2016, and quickly became an invaluable organizer of the trip. She serves as the houseboat manager and one of the field researchers.
Alejandra Duarte, MS [Mexico]. Ale is a Lecturer at National School of Anthropology and History, in Mexico City. As a child she was inspired by Indiana Jones to become a field archeologist. She found her way into primatology through Physical Anthropology. Alejandra was a mentee of Laura’s at the 2010 International Primatology Conference in Japan. She looks forward to bringing the knowledge and field experience she gains in this expedition back home to share with her students. Alejandra’s unique role on the expedition is to work with the communities along the rivers to better understand how they use their resources. The local knowledge she is collecting informs the team about how monkey populations are impacted by hunting and other practices.
Anamélia de Souza Jesus, MS, Mamirauá Institute [Brasil]. Anamélia is a biologist and has her masters in zoology at the Faculty of Biosciences of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul. Since her graduation she has been involved in research with non-human primates. She also worked with several species in captivity. Her experience is mainly focused on the behavior and conservation of howler monkeys (Alouatta spp.), also called guaribas. In her master's degree she studied diet and parasitic load of black-and-gold howler monkeys. After completing the study, she participated in the Muriqui de Caratinga Project, for two years, collecting data on the demography and behavior of two groups of northern-muriquis. In 2016, she has started working in the Terrestrial Vertebrate Ecology Research Group at Mamirauá Institute, where she is developing the study of the sustainability of hunting howler monkeys. Anamélia assisted in the early logistical planning of the expedition and the translation of texts and documents. Her participation during the expedition was as a researcher conducting surveys.
Alessandro Rocha, MS [Brasil]. Alessandro was born in Campinas and grew up in Sao Paulo. His first contact with nature was in the fazenda region where as a child he attended family traditional festas, enjoyed hiking for bird watching, and went fishing with his grandfather. Unfortunately, monkeys were gone in the area due to deforestation. He studied an MSc in ecology and is currently looking forward to undertake a PhD in primate conservation assessing the occurrence of primates according to landscape ecology, considering the topographic changes in eastern Brasil. He became interested in joining this expedition as he followed the Houseboat Amazon facebook posts and was encouraged and supported by his parents and girlfriend to join. Now he is involved with data collection and provides his expertise in igapó surveys. So far, he has been able to observe species that he had not seen before in the wild and wants to gain experience in how to run future expeditions like this to enhance the current knowledge of the biodiversity in his country and is learning how local knowledge as an important component in conservation action plans. Uacaris and titi monkeys are his favorite primate species, and he loves relating the landscape features with their presence or absence.
Karine Galisteo Dimer Lopes, MS [Brasil]. Karine was born and raised in the city of Porto Alegre in Brasil. When she was a child, she was afraid of bugs and spiders, but her father was fascinated with trail adventures and animals, so he always encouraged her to be in touch with nature and to enjoy its uniqueness. She studied an MSc in zoology and is looking forward to develop a PhD research project in the Amazon. She attended the International Primatological Conference in Chicago (2016), where she got to know the purpose of this expedition and applied to become part of the team. Now she undertakes surveys in terra firme, igapo and váreza. She loved the expedition and is learned so much from this new field experience. Squirrel monkeys are her preferred species along with titi monkeys she has studied before. She enjoys being inside of the flooded forest as it is so calm and quiet.
Gerardo Alberto Rivero Gonzalez, Student [Mexico]. Gerardo was born in Mexico City where he just finished his undergrad classes in Physical Anthropology and now will do his undergraduate thesis. As a child, he lived in the north of Mexico surrounded by desert where the extreme conditions made it hard to be in touch with nature. However, his family occasionally rescued animals and raised them at home, where he had the chance to observe them closely. Becoming part of the Houseboat Amazon team will give him the opportunity to learn different methodologies to collect data systematically and in different field conditions, as well as experiencing how multidisciplinary and multicultural expeditions come together. In this expedition he was the curator for all collected materials (bones, skins, genetic samples, and fruits). His favorite primate is the emperor tamarin and considers this expedition challenging, but a unique learning opportunity for his professional development.
The Super Guides, Field Assistants, and Practicos
Ivan Batista da Silva, Super Guide [Brasil]. Ivan learned how to walk in the forest and search for animals tracks with his father when he was eight years old. He grew up in Mato Grosso state, a region that was strongly devastated during the military government (in the 1970s) in Brazil. Ivan has learned to love the forest, but has also had to see it being destroyed around him. Now, he is employed by a local NGO that monitors human activities in the last forest remnants in his region. For the past three years, Ivan has been focusing on supporting primate studies as a field guide, and now, he is so excited to work in a continuous forest in search of sakis and all the other creatures that live in this large rainforest. He was one of our most valuable photographers as his keep eye could find any animal in the forest.
Dr. Shayna Whitaker, DVM [USA]. Shayna grew up outside Los Alamos, New Mexico exploring the Jemez Mountains on horseback and motorbike. She is an expert butterfly catcher having started her career working on a butterfly catching research program with Los Alamos National Lab. Shayna has also plied the Pajarito Plateau for a study of western bluebirds, walked the beaches of South Padre Island in Mexico for a study of the rare Kemps Ridley sea turtles, radio-collared white-tailed deer in Minnesota, and surveys for monkeys with Dr. Marsh in Ecuador. She now runs a low-cost veterinary clinic in Bloomfield, NM. Thanks to her twin 5- year-old boys she is traveling the rainforest protected by Lego Deadpool. Watch for his appearance on the HBA Instagram and Facebook page. She joins the expedition as an experience field assistant and veterinarian.
Leonardo Souza da Silva, Practico and Community Liaison [Brasil]. Leonardo grew up in the countryside of Seringal Sao Luis on the Rio Liberdade, Amazonas in Brazil. He moved to Eirunepe in 2003 where he now lives with his wife and two-year-old daughter, Lorena. There, he builds custom furniture for Eirunepe’s growing population. He joins the expedition with a vast knowledge and experience of the local area and a detailed map of its waterways in his mind. He serves as a multi-purpose field assistant for HBA, often assisting Alejandra with visits to local villages. He is the go-to-guide when the field crew needs to navigate the rivers, igarapes and shortcuts through the flooded forests of the Alto Jurua’s watery transport system.
"Sineca," Raimundo Souza das Reis. Sineca is from Jua Grande, an igarapé inside Amanã Reserve outside of Tefé City. He grew up farming manioc, fishing, and learning about the forest from his dad. He says he's never gotten lost in the forest because he always walks with the sun at his back and marks his path with broken branches. Amanã officially became a reserve when he was about eight years old. Sineca feels life for his family improved after this due to an increase in abundance of fish and decrease in illegal fishing by big boats invading their waters from the city. He joins this expedition as an assistant, having worked with researchers from Mamirauá Institute on other projects back home. This trip marks his first time away from home, first time on an airplane, and first time living on an expedition boat.
The Journalists, Photographers, and Filmmakers
Juan Pablo Bueno Gomez, Filmmaker [Colombia]. Juan Pablo grew up in the city of Bogota, Columbia. During school vacations, he stayed on the family cattle ranch outside the city with an adjacent forest. There he took care of a baby deer that was abandoned by its mother and raised a pet squirrel monkey. But he attributes his love of nature and his decision to study biology and environmental engineering to a paddling expedition on the beautiful Magdelana River and his trips around Colombia. He joins the HBA team as the Director of Photography and operates the drone and organizes social media.
Christina Selby, Independent Journalist [USA]. Christina grew up in Mequon, WI and spent her summers swimming and fishing at Bass Lake near the family dairy farm in northern Wisconsin. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her two boys and husband. Whenever possible she heads to the Santa Fe National Forest to find wildflowers or the Gila Wilderness to look for wolves. She has worked as a field assistant scuba diving in Minnesota lakes to collect invasive plants, as a Peace Corps volunteer in a subsistence village in Panama, traveled the length of Central America by bus, and participated in field surveys of pollinators in the Indian Himalayas. She joins the HBA team as an independent journalist and photographer. She is quickly learning to navigate the Amazon rainforest and find monkeys in the trees by listening for fruit drops.
Marcelo Ismar Santana, Photographer [Brasil]. Marcelo developed a passion for photography at age 14 when his dad gave him his first camera. A self-taught photographer, he served as a field assistant for Luiz Claudio Marigo (a famous Brazilian wildlife photographer) and Sabastião Salgado. He photographed the birds of Brazil for many years and just when he tired of this subject, he met Felipe Ennes on a photography trip to Mamirauá Reserve. The two bonded over their interest in primates and ever since, Marcelo has been accompanying Felipe on his field expeditions to photograph primates for science. His lifetime goal is to photograph in the wild all 139 species of Amazonian primates.
Leticia Cazarré, Journalist/Editor CAUSE Magazine [Brasil]. Leticia grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. As a child she lived in over ten cities moving with her airforce father, but spent holidays with her parents in the forests and lakes near Rio. She was raised by a biologist mother who kept tadpoles and caterpillars for her children to watch transform instead of having cats and dogs as pets. After finishing her biology undergraduate degree, she was unexpectedly accepted to a Master's program through INPA with Claudio Padua, where she became a primatologist studying the endangered Saguinus bicolor in Manaus. Not long after her degree she became pregnant with her first son and realized being a biologist wouldn't pay the bills. So she got a laboratory job working as a sanitary water analyst for the government. When she later married her actor-husband and had her second son, she realized she needed something more. She completed an online degree in Fashion Styling--a hobby of hers for many years, and became a stylist for actresses. After learning as much as she could in places like Milan, she pushed forward and created a new fashion magazine called CAUSE, where she is currently the Editor in Chief and Publisher. Now in its fifth edition, her goal with her next volume is to combine her worlds as a "fashion primatologist" and talk about nature, primates, and style from her experience on Houseboat Amazon. Still, it is the love of rainforest that brought her to us on the expedition. "After two kids, a marriage, carrier shifts, creation of a magazine, and life tragedies -- I was ready to get back to the forest where I feel at peace," she says. When asked what that feeling in the forest is like, she said, "When I surf it is the same intense feeling of connection. It's like the Rip Curl slogan, 'Only a surfer knows the feeling.'"
Capitão Elival Pinheiro, Barco Bruno and Rakel Owner [Brasil]. Capitão has sailed his fleet of boats throughout the region where Houseboat Amazon will work for twenty-nine years. He is very interested in the safety of all who join the expedition and made sure to hire an excellent crew made up of his brothers and cousins. He did not sail with us, but organized the crew before we left.
“Bitito,” Francisco Guimaroes Pinheiro, Comadante [Brasil]. Bitito grew up Seringal Boa Esperanza where his father was the manager of the rubber tappers. From 8-13 years-old he went to Catholic boarding school. When he returned, his family moved to start a cattle ranch in an area that later became an Extractive Reserve. At the time, the Brazilian government required all residents to move out of the reserve once it was legally established. His father has since passed away, and he is still waiting for the compensatory payment the government promised the evicted families. He served as mayor of Seringal Sao Joao do Breu for several years before joining his brother in the boat business. Together they have transported groups of people and goods up and down the Juruâ river for more than 20 years. He is currently acting boat captain of the Bruno, master of clearing igarapes of obstacles with a machete, and expert at launching motorized canoes over downed trees so the research team can get to remote places to find monkeys.
"Edivaldo," Francisco da Costa Guimarães [Brasil]. Edivaldo grew up in Marechal Thaumaturgo outside of Cruzeiro do Sul and now owns a mechanic repair shop in Seringal do Breu. He's been working with Capitão Elivão, his cousin, for twelve years transporting goods and people on the boat. Some of his most memorable trips have been transporting political candidates to remote areas of the Amazon. His favorite forest animals are monkeys. He's excited to learn more about them on this trip and share it with his daughter who loves animals so much she won't even kill a chicken. He joins the team as the engine mechanic and all around handyman. If any of us need a nail hammered or a make-shift butterfly net sewn, or a boat engine reconstructed: he's our guy.
"Toni," Antonio Guimaraes Pinheiro. Toni grew up in Seringal Sao Joao de Breu in the state of Acre, Brazil. He studied to be a priest, but decided to join his brothers Elivao and Bitito in the boat transportation business instead. Toni is the proud father of eight grown children who now live in various cities across Brazil. Visiting his children allows him to do what he loves best – travel and see new places. After this four-month expedition, his schedule is packed for the rest of the year moving goods and people up and down the Amazon’s transportation highways aboard his three boats.
"Toín," Antônio Nascimento Martins. Toín was born in Seringal Caipora in the Alto Juruá region. He grew up working in the forest - walking long trails to help his family collect sap from rubber trees. Along their tapping route he encountered just about every animal the researchers on this boat dream of seeing: jaguars, pumas, margays, deer, tapir, curaçao and a wide variety of monkeys. As a young boy, he learned how to hunt alongside his father. His family ate only what they could hunt, grow, and fish. He's been a friend of Capitão Elivão since childhood and joins us as the head barco driver. We're pretty sure he's the only one of us that can actually stand up in the very low shower.
"Ze," Jose Elpidio de Oliveira. Ze grew up in the small town of Ipixuna, Amazonas, Brazil. When he was eight years old, his family moved to the countryside where he learned to fish and hunt with his father. He has lived in Cruzeiro do Sul for the past six years working aboard a ferry transporting goods on the Jurua and Moa Rivers. He’s happy to join this expedition as he enjoys traveling and getting to know new places. Ze is a general crew member for the expedition. In the field, he’s the front man in the canoes keeping the team moving in the flooded forest by pulling us over floating logs, under low hanging vines, and maneuvering around sharp corners expertly using the tear-drop shaped paddles as a rudder.
Luiz Libermanio Dias Da Silva, Head Cook [Brasil]. Luiz grew up with his family in the Amazonian city of Cruzeiro do Sul. He didn't get to know the forest until he joined the Brazilian Army where he served as jungle boarder patrol and learned his extensive survival and cooking skills. He met Capitão Elivão when his army unit was dispatched to support environmental law enforcement along the flooded rivers. After seeing the result of illegal wildlife poaching, he's supportive of this expedition's conservation objective. These days his passion is truck driving, but on this trip he joins us to turn out incredible meals from a kitchen the size of a closet.
Dunga," Éderson Aráujo Da Silva, Assistant Cook [Brasl]. Éderson was born in the countryside in Seringal Mirim. He moved to Cruzeiro do Sulwhen he was seven years old but continued to spend summers in the Seringal farming and hunting with his family. He still prefers the seringal to the city. He takes every opportunity to help on his family farm where they grow manioc, watermelon, papaya, and all kinds of vegetables to sell at the market. Éderson feels every experience provides him an opportunity to learn and improve himself. He likes to be in service to people and joins us to help Luiz serve delicious food. The only critique he has about this expedition so far is that he wishes it was longer because its already been "optimo!"
ADDITIONAL HBA TEAM SUPPORT
Dr. Fernanda Pozzan Paim (Brazil): General Project Support
Dirk Norris (New Mexico, USA): Twitter Support
Dr. Rachel Locke (Pensylvania, USA): Grant Writing and Project Management
Dr. Jeanne M. Fair (New Mexico, USA): Instagram Support
Dr. Marcos Atheydes Liesenfeld (Cruzeiro do Sul, Brazil): Cruzeiro Support
Brandon Sharp (California, USA): Youtube and Website Support
To partner with us, or for general inquiries, email
Dr. Laura K. Marsh: firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Conservation Institute: www.global-conservation.org
Mamiraua Institute: http://www.mamiraua.org.br