Ape nests fulfil a variety of function including providing a safe, comfortable sleeping platform and a shelter from environmental challenges, such as predation, parasite transmission, and thermal stress. The possible thermoregulatory function of great ape nests in cool montane environments has received no empirical consideration to date. We propose to address the following questions: Which environmental factors influence nest site selection (tree characteristics and position within tree)? If nes...
Forest degradation can decrease dietary diversity and alter social dynamics in the inhabiting species. Host diet and social interactions are strongly associated with gut microbiome composition, which in turn contributes to host health and nutrition. However, the relationship between habitat quality and the gut microbiome remains largely unexplored.
This study aims to understand the effect of forest fragmentation on the gut microbiome by comparing two communities of eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglo...
The overall goal of this project is to investigate male-male interactions in an all-male unit in a complex multilevel society of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys (Rhinopithecus bieti) in China.
More specifically, the study is aimed at characterizing the social network of an all-male unit, identifying the factors that influence male-male interactions, and examining the effect of seasonality on male-male social relationships.
Prof. Li Ming and Ren Baoping, the Institute of Zoology, Chinese...
Chimpanzee ranging decisions, along with many aspects of behaviour, are influenced by ecological, social and cultural factors that vary substantially among sites.
The availability and distribution of food resources is thought to be the primary factor determining chimpanzee space use, but neighbouring groups, topographic variation, access to mates, predation pressure and the location of their prey can also play significant parts in some populations.
Chimpanzees are our closest phylogenetic relatives and constitute an important basis for hypotheses about the origin and evolution of human sociality.
Chimpanzees across tropical Africa show extensive amounts of behavioural diversity that is sometimes attributed to variation in local environmental conditions and sometimes thought to represent distinct cultural traditions.
Chimpanzees have been the subject of long-term studies at several sites in Africa, but studies at additional sites are needed t...
Maintaining group cohesion is of paramount importance in the face of predation and conspecific threat. Primates have various ‘tools’ at their disposal to ‘cultivate’ social relationships which may contribute to within-group harmony.
It has been argued that social grooming plays an essential role in group cohesion in non-human primates. Spatial proximity has also been traditionally used by primatologists and behavioural scientists as a proxy measures for bond strength. However, there may be alt...
Angolan colobus monkeys in Rwanda's Nyungwe National Park live in supertroops of several hundred individuals.
However, very little is known about the ecological preconditions (resource abundance and distribution) that allow these primates to live in such extremely large groups and nothing is known about how these supergroups are internally structured.
Our field research is designed to fill this knowledge gap.
Golden snub-nosed monkeys in China form multilevel societies characterized by one-male units embedded within a larger bands.
The functional significance of band formation is not yet fully understood, but it could offer individuals better protection from takeover attempts by bachelor males through safety-in-numbers or collective defence.
The social dynamics of bachelor groups and reproductive groups are being explored in collaboration with researchers in China.
Mountain gorillas in Rwanda inhabit an area where there is high overlap among groups’ home ranges and encounters between different groups are relatively frequent.
We study them with the aim of determining the factors that prevent escalation of intergroup conflict, e.g. familiarity and relatedness among members of different groups or resource abundance in their home ranges.