Primate Immunogenetics and Molecular Ecology Research Group (PrIME)

Jurgi Cristobal Azkaratejurgi
Temporary Lecturer in Human Biology

T: +44 (0) 1223 335459
F: +44 (0) 1223 335460

Previous positions held

Faculty. Wildlife Health Laboratory, Center for Tropical Research, University of Veracruz.

Postdoctoral Fellow. Department of Anthropology, University of Southern California



I graduated in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Zaragoza, Spain, in 1998 and went on to study for a PhD in Primate Behaviour from the University of Barcelona. The topic of my PhD thesis was how forest fragmentation affects the viability of howler monkey populations at Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. I received my PhD in 2004, and started a postdoc in the Department of Anthropology of the University of Southern California, studying the distribution and habitat preferences of howler and spider monkeys in the Sian Ka´an- Calakmul Biological Corridor, of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.

In 2006 I started working as a Faculty Researcher at the Center for Tropical Research of the University of Veracruz, in Mexico, and founded the Wildlife Health Laboratory. My research was focused on wildlife health, and, particularly, studying the effects of the transformation of natural habitats on health and fitness. It included bio geographical, demographical, behavioural, parasitological, endocrinological and genetic approaches, and study species include howler and spider monkeys, jaguars, pumas, tapirs, tropical forest bats and birds.

.One of the objectives of the laboratory was to use and develop non-invasive techniques to evaluate the health of wildlife. In this sense, one of the principal achievements of the laboratory was to develop a technique to quantify thyroid hormone in faeces of howler monkeys. This study was conducted in collaboration with the Center for Conservation Biology of the University of Washington.

spider monkeysbatocelot

Research interests

My main interest is in bacterial diseases and the possibility of starting a new and exiting project encouraged me to leave Mexico and come to Cambridge. At present I am working on the development of three projects related to bacteria: the study of the link between host genetics and composition of gastrointestinal bacteria of primates, the role of human skin bacteria in odour profile production and its effect on mate choice, and finally the establishment o a network for antibiotic resistance surveillance in Sub-Saharan Africa. These projects are being developed in collaboration with Dr Leslie Knapp, and Dr Jacob Dunn from the University of Cambridge, and Prof John Wain from the University of East Anglia.


* Click here to read about our research on howler monkey ecology in the Smithsonian Newsletter *



Editorial work

I am working with the Journal of Infection in Developing Countries (JIDC) in the preparation of an especial issue on antibacterial resistance in sub-Sahara Africa. JIDC is a open access journal with a mentoring system to help researchers in developing countries not only have access to a high-quality international journal, but, more importantly in which to publish their research, and learn in the process.

Finally, my last adventure is the edition of a book on child development. The book intends to help parents understand the development of children with scientific information drawn from primatological, psychological and anthropological sciences, so they can use it as a guide in their education.

Publications (please email me if you need a pdf copy)

  1. Cristobal-Azkarate J., Colwell D.D., Kenny D, Solórzano B, Shedden A, Cassaigne I, Rodríguez Luna E. 2012. First Report of Bot Fly (Cuterebra baeri) Infestation in Howler Monkeys (Alouatta palliata) from Mexico. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, in press.
  2. Dunn J.C., Asensio N., Arroyo-Rodríguez V., Schnitzer S., and Cristóbal-Azkarate J. 2012. The Ranging Costs of a Fallback Food: Liana Consumption Supplements Diet but Increases Foraging Effort in Howler Monkeys. Biotropica, in press.
  3. Cristóbal-Azkarate j., Dias P.A., Vegas-Carrillo S., Hervier B., Dunn J., Asensio N., Rodríguez-Luna E., Veá J.J. 2012. Los efectos de la fragmentación sobre las poblaciones de monos aulladores de manto en Los Tuxtlas: una visión integrada. In, V.H. Reynoso-Rosales & R. Coates (eds). Avances en la Investigación de Bosques Tropicales y sus Alrededores: Los Tuxtlas. Dirección general de Publicaciones UNAM e Instituto de Biologia UNAM. Mexico DF. (in press.).
  4. Cristóbal-Azkarate, J., Domingo-Balcells, C., Dunn, J. C., & Veà-Baró, J. (2011). Evolución demográfica de monos aulladores en fragmentos de selva en los tuxtlas. In P.D.A. Dias, A. Rangel-Negrín, & D. Canales-Espinosa (eds). La conservación de primates en México. Colección la Ciencia en Veracruz, Consejo Veracruzano de Ciencia y Tecnología. Xalapa, Mexico.
  5. Cristóbal-Azkarate j., Arroyo-Rodríguez V. 2011. Adaptaciones conductuales de los monos aulladores (Alouatta palliata) a la fragmentación de la selva en Los Tuxtlas: dieta y patrón de actividad. In, V.H. Reynoso-Rosales & R. Coates (eds). Avances en la Investigación de Bosques Tropicales y sus Alrededores: Los Tuxtlas. Dirección general de Publicaciones UNAM e Instituto de Biología UNAM. México DF.
  6. Dunn, J.C., Cristóbal-Azkarate, J., Veà, J.J., Chavira, R. 2011. Effects of fruit consumption and foraging effort on stress levels in two groups of Alouatta palliata mexicana in forest fragments. En: Perspectivas en Primatología. Gama Campillo, L.M., Pozo Montuy G., Contreras Sánchez, W.M., Arriaga Weiss S.L. (eds.). Universidad Júarez Autónoma de Tabasco, Villa Hermosa, México, p.p. 61-82.
  7. Arroyo-Rodríguez, V. Dias, P.A., Cristóbal-Azkarate, J. 2011. Group size and foraging effort in mantled howlers at Los Tuxtlas, México: A preliminary test of the ecological constraints model. En: Perspectivas en Primatología. Gama Campillo, L.M., Pozo Montuy G., Contreras Sánchez, W.M., Arriaga Weiss S.L. (eds.). Universidad Júarez Autónoma de Tabasco, Villa Hermosa, México, p.p. 101-116.
  8. Dunn J.C., Cristóbal-Azkarate, J. Veà JJ. 2010.Seasonal variations in the diet and feeding effort of two groups of howler monkeys in different sized forest fragment. International Journal of Primatology. 31: 887-903 (DOI:10.1007/s10764-010-9436-0).
  9. Cristóbal-Azkarate J., Hervier B., Vegas-Carrillo S., Osorio-Sarabia D., Rodríguez-Luna E., Veà J.J. 2010. Parasitic infections of three Mexican howler monkey groups (Alouatta palliata mexicana) living in forest fragments in Mexico. Primates 51:231-239 (DOI: 10.1007/s10329-010-0193-7).
  10. Wasser S.K., Cristóbal-Azkarate  J., Booth R.K., Hayward L., Hunt K., Ayres K., Vynne C., Gobush K.,  Canales-Espinosa D.,  Rodríguez-Luna, E. 2010. Non-invasive Measurement of Thyroid Hormone in feces of a Diverse Array of Avian and Mammalian Species. General and Comparative Endocrinology (DOI:10.1016/j.ygcen.2010.04.004).
  11. Asensio N., Arroyo-Rodríguez V., Dunn J. C., Cristóbal-Azkarate J. 2009. Conservation value of landscape supplementation for howler monkeys living in forest patches. Biotropica 41:768-773.
  12. Dunn J.C., Cristóbal-Azkarate J., Veà J. J. 2009. Differences in the diet and activity pattern of two groups of Alouatta palliata associated with the availability of big trees and fruit of top food taxa. American Journal of Primatology, 71: 1-9.
  13. Arroyo-Rodríguez V., Asensio N., Cristóbal-Azkarate J. 2008. Demography, life history and migrations in a Mexican mantled howler group in a rainforest fragment. American Journal of Primatology,70 (2) 114-118.
  14. Asensio N., Cristóbal-Azkarate J., Dias P.A.D., Veà J.J., Rodríguez-Luna E. 2007. Foraging habits of Alouatta palliata mexicana in three forest fragments. Folia Primatologica , 78 (3): 141-153.
  15. Cristóbal-Azkarate J., Arroyo-Rodríguez V. 2007. Diet and activity pattern of howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) in Los Tuxtlas, Mexico: Effects of habitat fragmentation and implications for conservation. American Journal of Primatology, 69 (9):1013-1029.
  16. Cristóbal-Azkarate J., Chavira R., Boeck L., Rodríguez-Luna E., Veà J.J. 2007. Glucocorticoid levels in free ranking resident mantled howlers: a study of coping strategies. American Journal of Primatology, 69 (8):866-876.
  17. Asensio N., Arroyo-Rodríguez V., Cristóbal-Azkarate J. 2007. Feeding encounters between a group of howler monkeys and white-nosed coatis in a small forest fragment in Los Tuxtlas, Mexico . Journal of Tropical Ecology, 23 (2):235-255.
  18. Cristóbal-Azkarate J., Chavira R., Boeck L., Rodríguez-Luna E., Veà J.J. 2006. Testosterone levels of free-ranging resident mantled howler monkey males in relation to the number and density of solitary males: A test of the challenge hypothesis. Hormones and Behavior, 49 (2):261-267.
  19. Cristóbal-Azkarate J., Veà J.J., Asensio N., Rodríguez-Luna E. 2005. Biogeographical and floristic predictors of the presence and abundance on mantled howlers (Alouatta palliata mexicana) in rainforest fragments at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. American Journal of Primatology. 67 (2): 209-222.
  20. Cristóbal-Azkarate J., Dias P.A., Veà J. 2004. Causes of intraspecific aggression in the mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata mexicana): evidence from injuries, demography, and habitat. International Journal of Primatology, 25 (4): 939-953.
  21. Veá J.J., Cristóbal-Azkarate J. 2002. Socioecología de Alouatta palliata en hábitat fragmentado: Implicaciones para la conservación. In, J.M. Contreras & J. J.Veà (eds). Primates: Evolución, Cultura y Diversidad: Homenaje a Jordi Sabater PI, Centro de Estudios Políticos y Sociales Lombardo Toledano, México, D F.

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