Primate Behavioral Ecology
This course focuses on the interface between the behavior and ecology of the Order Primates (prosimians, monkeys, apes, plus Homo sapiens). The theoretical framework is comparative and evolutionary, and the levels of analysis are multiple: individual, family, group, population, and species. We will examine how the basic principles of animal ecology can help us understand primate behavior. We will look at a wide range of primates from a comparative perspective as we explore primate habitats, diets, life histories, and communities, as well as the concept of the niche, environmental influences on reproductive and social strategies, plant-animal interactions, cognitive ecology, and much more. Because most primate species are threatened, endangered, or even facing extinction, we will also focus on how various aspects of ecology are used in the conservation of primates. I will draw heavily on field studies of primates and emphasize their behavior in natural environmental and social settings.