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A team of researchers, including a University of Michigan assistant professor, is trying to save their work with monkeys on a remote island that was badly damaged by Hurricane Maria.

In late September, the hurricane devastated Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean, including Cayo Santiago, which is off the southeast coast of Puerto Rico,

Many people living in those communities lost their homes and belongings, and have limited access to electricity, phone service, fuel, food and water.

But the situation for the monkeys on Cayo Santiago, which received a direct hit from the Category 4 storm on Sept. 20, is also precarious.

The animals braved the storm, but island vegetation has been decimated, and the infrastructure providing life-sustaining fresh water has been destroyed. The scientists are organizing a relief effort to address these problems on the monkeys' island and the surrounding communities.

"We need to act quickly to save these monkeys for future generations of scientists to study," said Alexandra Rosati, assistant professor of psychology. Rosati's research group studies how the monkeys solve problems and make decisions, in order to understand the roots of the human mind. She first worked at Cayo Santiago 15 years ago as an undergraduate.

"Cayo is an amazing place, and many scientists have gotten their first real taste for research on this island," she said.