General information

Module title Primate Behavioral Ecology
Language EN
Module lecturer Małgorzata Arlet
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position adiunkt
Faculty Faculty of Biology
Semester 2021/2022 (summer)
Duration 15


Module aim (aims)

• To provide an overview of primate social behaviour with ecological angle.• To provide students with an opportunities to learn observational skills.• To allow students to evaluate current management programs and policies to protect primates and their ecological communities.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)


Week 1: Introduction to primate studies. Taxonomy of primates: traits and trends.On the first meeting students will be introduced to the history of primate research. Moreover, students will be introduced to the primate diversity: e.g. to the differences in their locomotor systems and manual dexterity and primate brain sizes relative to body sizes.ConversatoryWeek 2: Evolution and social behaviour.Here, students will investigate the various social systems in primates and behaviours that characterize them, from pair-bonded to multi-male groups.Week 3: Feeding and foraging Here we will investigate variety of feeding strategies in folivorous, frugivorous and omnivorous primates. Week 4: Sexual strategies of males and females.That is a part of their reproductive strategy, to show the abilities and health to competitors and gain access to females. Avoiding predators and finding food, reproduce, and give their infants a good start in life is nearly a full-time job for females. Week 5: Mother-infant relationship.Here we will focus on the types of maternal care in primates and their consequences on infant development.Week 6: Communication in primates. Here, we will focus on of primate communication, both vocal and non-vocal, like facial expressions, genital displays, and urine washing rituals. Week 7: Primate conservation.On the last meeting, we will discuss the devastating effects of exploding human populations and our activities that have brought about the greatest challenge yet for primates. We will also investigate the management programs and policies to protect primates and their ecological communities to save them from extinction. Week 8: Evaluation.

Reading list

Altmann J. 1974. Observational Study of Behavior: Sampling Methods. Behaviour 49, 227-267.Chapman CA, Lambert JE. 2000. Habitat Alteration and the Conservation of African Primates: Case Study of Kibale National Park, Uganda American Journal of Primatology 50, 169–185.Dixson A. 2015. The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. In Patricia Whelehan and Anne Bolin (eds). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Lambert J. 1998. Primate Digestion: Interactions Among Anatomy, Physiology, and Feeding Ecology; Liebal K, Call J. 2012. The Origins of Non-human Primates’ Manual Gestures. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 367, 118–128. Maestripieri D. 1994. Social Structure, Infant Handling, and Mothering Styles in Group-Living Old World Monkeys. International Journal of Primatology 15, 531-553.Snowdon CT. 2009. Plasticity of Communication in Nonhuman Primates. In Marc Naguib and Vincent M. Janik (eds): Advances in the Study of Behavior, 40, Burlington: Academic Press, pp. 239-276.Strier K. 2016. Primate Behavioural Ecology. Wright PC. 1990. Patterns of Paternal Care in Primates. International Journal of Primatology 11, 89-102.