Anthropology 574

Methods in Field Primatology

Fall, 2005
© Ryne A. Palombit
(© Ryne A. Palombit)

Instructor: Ryne A. Palombit

Prerequisites:  Background in behavioral ecology &/or primatology.  Permission of instructor.

Textbooks: Setchell, J.M. & D.J. Curtis (editors).  2003.  Field and Laboratory Methods in Primatology: A Practical Guide.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Martin, P., & P. Bateson. 1993. Measuring Behaviour, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Goal of Seminar:  Aquire training & background in a range of methods used in the study of behavior and ecology in the field.

1. Annotated bibliographies (25%)

For one or two topics in field methodology, you will compile an exhaustive annotated bibliography of relevant publications & papers. At the end of the semester, I'll distribute all the annotated bibliographies to all the participants in the seminar.  Due by 19 December.

Note: the papers you include can be of two sorts. First, you will of course want to include papers that are explicitly method-oriented. This type of paper should be your primary focus. Second, you can choose to also include some papers that are actual empirical studies that are not "methods" papers per se, but exemplify excellent use of methodology.

2. Paper: Comparison of methods (25%)

You are to find two published field studies dealing with a particular question or topic in primate behavioral ecology. You will critically analyse the methods used to categorize, quantify, and sample behavior. Paper should be 8-10 pages (double spaced). Due before Thanksgiving.

3. Participation (50%) Do readings and participate in discussions. Note: you will take a particularly active role in co-moderating (with me) the discussion of topics you are doing annotated bibliographies for. That is, you will have already read some papers on the topic (hopefully, especially recent topics) and therefore be able to contribute.

One or twice during the semester you’ll moderate discussion.  This means leading the discussion by offering your critical evaluations of the readings.  This does not mean simply rephrasing the content of the papers.  Rather, take a position on the work and present it.  Foster debate by presenting opposing views on a subject.  If you like, you can take time at the beginning of class to present material (a brief “lecture”) or you can present it during the course of the discussion.

One of your responsibilities as moderator is to do a (computer) search of the literature on the topic you’re moderating and make recommendations regarding papers we should read in class.  The question basically is: are there other papers of enough importance to recommend we drop the currently assigned reading (see below) and replace it?  Your recommendations don’t have to be necessarily based on in-depth analysis of each paper.  Rather, you should be able to make a preliminary evaluation based on a quick reading of it.

So, two weeks before your moderating date, you should hand in to me (or email to me) a list of 3-5 paper that you think are relevant for the discussion.  Then, for each one, explain in a few sentences why you recommend it or don’t recommend it for as a reading for the seminar.  If we use your paper, you will need to make copies of any non-PDF papers available a week ahead of time (1 set of copies to me, 1 set of copies to the class).

Another responsibility is to present the results of (at least) one other relevant, empirical study (not theoretical or review paper) that was not assigned as a reading.  You can pick from the readings you submitted above, if you like.

Schedule of Meetings
Fall 2005 reading list
(will be revised as semester progresses, except for readings from textbooks)


Topic(s) Covered



Sept. 1

Organizational Meeting - -

Sept. 8

Behavior Taxonomy

Discussion Human Ethogram

Initial discussion of bird niche exercise
Martin & Bateson, Chapters 2 & 4

Rosenblum, L.A. 1978. The creation of a behavioral taxonomy. In: Observing Behavior, Vol. II Data collection and analysis methods (Ed. by G.P. Sackett), pp. 15-24. University Park Press, Baltimore.

Hempel, C.G.  1966.  Concept Formation.  Chapter 7 from Philosophy of Natural Science.  Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Sept. 15


Set aside for niche exercise: one hour meeting

Sept. 22

Sampling Behavior I Martin & Bateson, Chapters 1, 5 (pp. 62-68), & 6

Altmann, J.A. 1974. Observational study of behavior: Sampling methods. Behaviour, 49:229-267.

Sarah & Ryne

Sept. 29

Sampling Behavior II


Behavioral Sequences



Martin & Bateson, pp. 152-154.

Damerose, E. & Hopkins, W.D.  2002.  Scan and focal sampling: Reliability in the laterality for maternal cradling and infant nipple preferences in olive baboons, Papio anubis.  Anim. Behav., 63:511-518.

Bakeman, R. & Gottman,  J.M.  1997.  Observing Interaction: An Introduction to Sequential Analysis.  Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.  [Excepts: Chapters 1 & 3]

Bernard, H.R., Killworth, P.,  Kronenfeld, D., &  Sailer, L.  1984.  The problem of informant accuracy: The validity of retrospective data.  Ann. Rev. Anthropol., 13:495-517.

Warwick, D.P., & Linger, C.A.  1975.  The Sample Survey: Theory and Practice.  New York, McGraw Hill.  [Excerpt: Chapter 6, Questionnaire Design]

Helen & Lisa

Oct. 7
11:30 am

Sampling Behavior III: Techniques, Software, Hardware
Martin & Bateson, Chapters 7 & 8

Whiten, A., & Barton, R.A. 1988. Demise of the checksheet: Using off-the-shelf minature hand-held computers for remote fieldwork applications. Trends Ecol. Evol., 3(6):146-148.

Forney, K.A., Leete, A.J., & Lindburg, D.G. 1991. A bar code scoring system for behavioral research. Am. J. Primatol., 23:127-135.

Donát, P. 1991. Measuring behaviour: The tools and the strategies. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 15:447-454.

Brumm, H., Kipper, S., Riechelmann, C., & Todt, D.  2005. Do Barbary macaques “comment” on what they see?  A first report on vocalizations accompanying interactions of third parties.  Primates, 46: 141-144.

A couple media reviews of "The Observer" software from Noldus & the demonstration CD from Noldus.


Oct. 13

Measuring Sociality I:

Conceptual Frameworks

Carpenter, C.R. 1945. Concepts and problems in primate sociometry.  Sociometry, 8:56-61

Hinde, R.A. 1979. The nature of social structure.  In: The Great Apes, (Ed. by D.A. Hamburg & C.R. McCann), pp. 295-315. Menlo Park, California:Benjamin Cummings.

Ghazanfar, A.A., & Santos, L.R.  2004.  The sensory bases for social interactions.  Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 5:603-616.

Bernstein, I.S. 1981.  Dominance: The baby and the bathwater.  Behav. Brain Sci., 4:419-457.

Oct. 20

Measuring Sociality II:

Measures & Techniques

Martin & Bateson, Chapter 5 (pp. 73-83).

Castles, D.L., Whiten, A. & Aureli, F. 1999. Social anxiety, relationships and self-directed behaviour among wild female olive baboons. Anim. Behav., 58: 1207-1215.

Treves, A.  2000.  Theory and method in studies of vigilance and aggregation.  Anim. Behav., 60:711-722.

Hinde, R.A., & Atkinson, S.  1970.  Assessing the roles of social partners in maintaining mutual proximity, as exemplified by mother-infant relations in rhesus monkeys.  Anim. Behav., 18:169-176.

Brown, G.  2001.  Using proximity measures to desribe mother-infant relationships.  Folia primatol., 72:80-84.

Mitani, J.C., Grether, G.F., Rodman, P.S., & Priatna, D. 1991. Associations among wild orang-utans: Sociality, passive aggregations or chance?  Anim. Behav., 42:33-46.

Strayer, F.F., & Harris, P.J.  1979.  Social cohesion among captive squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus).  Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol., 5:93-110.


Oct. 27

Home Range


Honess, P.E., & MacDonald, D.W. 2003. Marking and radio-tracking primates (from Setchell & Curtis).

Sterling, E.J. et al. 2000. Spatial patterning in nocturnal prosimians: A review of methods and relevance to studies of sociality. Am. J. Primatol., 51: 3-19.

Hughes, K. 2003. The global positioning system, geographic information systems, and remote sensing. (from Setchell & Curtis).

Kerr, J.T., & Ostrovsky, M.  2003.  From space to species: Ecological applications for remote sensing.  Trends Ecol. Evol., 18:299-305.

Phillips, K.A., Elvey, C.R., & Abercrombie, C.L.  1998.  Applying GPS to the study of primate ecology: A useful tool? Am. J. Primatol., 46:167-172.

Estimate Home Range software: Software

Use of arcview: Arcview

DUE: Your write-up of your exercise on niche divergence in local birds.
Nancy & Sarah

Nov. 3

Habitat Characterizations


Ganzhorn, J.U. 2003. Habitat description and phenology.  (from Setchell & Curtis).

Chapman, C.A., Wrangham, R.W. & Chapman, L.J. 1994.  Indices of habitat-wide fruit abundance in tropical forests. Biotropica, 26: 160-171.

Higgins, K.F., Oldemeyer, J.L., Jenkins, K.J., Clambey, G.K. & Harlow, R.F. 1994. Vegetation sampling and measurement. In: Research and Management Techniques for Wildlife and Habitats, (Ed. by T.A. Bookhaut), pp. 567-591. Bethesda, Maryland:The Wildlife Society.

Rodman, P.S.  1991. Structural differentiation of microhabitats of sympatric Macaca fascicularis and M. nemestrina in East Kalimantan, Indonesia.  Int. J. Primatol., 12: 357-375.


Nov. 10

Lucas, P.W., Osorio, D., Yamashita, N., Prinz, J.F., Dominy, N.J., & Darvell, B.W.. 2003. Dietary analysis I: Food physics. (from Setchell & Curtis)

Lucas, P.W., Corlett, R.T., Dominy, N.J., Essackjee, H.C., Riba-Hernandex, P., Stoner, K.E., & Yamashita, N.. 2003. Dietary analysis I: Food chemistry.
(from Setchell & Curtis)

Ozanne, C.M.P., & Bell, J.R.. 2003. Collecting arthropods and anthropod remains for primate studies.
(from Setchell & Curtis)

Dew, J.L.  2003. Feeding ecology and seed dispersal.
(from Setchell & Curtis)

Chapman, C.A., Chapman, L.J., Rode, K.D., Hauck, E.M., & McDowell, L.R.  2003.  Variation in the nutritional value of primate foods: Among trees, time periods and areas.  Int. J. Primatol., 24:317-333.

Nov.  1

Experimental Design

Playback experiments

Martin & Bateson, Chapter 5 (pp. 69-73).

Lehner, P.N. 1996. A Handbook of Ethological Methods, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.  Excerpts:  Basic Experimental Designs (pp. 126-149), Experimental Research (pp. 150-179).

McGregor, P.K., C.K. Catchpole, T. Dabelsteen, J.B. Falls, L. Fusani, C. Gerhardt, F. Gilbert, A.G. Horn, G.M. Klump, D.E. Kroodsma, M.M. Lambrechts, K.E. McComb, D.A. Nelson, I.M. Pepperberg, L. Ratcliffe, W.A. Searcy, & D.M. Weary.  1992.  Design of playback experiments: The Thornbridge Hall NATO ARW consensus. In: Playback and Studies of Animal Communication (P.K. McGregor, ed.), pp. 1-10. Plenum, New York.

Kitchen, D.M., D.L. Cheney, & R.M. Seyfarth.  2005.  Male chacma baboons (Papio hamadryas ursinus) discriminate loud call contests between rivals of different relative ranks.  Animal Cognition, 8:1-6.

Guest Moderator: Angela van Rooy


Dec. 1

Hormonal sampling in the field
Strier, K.B. & Ziegler, T.E.  2005.  Advances in field-based studies of primate behavioral endocrinology.  Amer. J. Primatol., 67:1-4.

Hodges, J.K., & Heistermann, M.. 2003. Field endocrinology: monitoring hormonal changes in free-ranging primates. (from Setchell & Curtis).

Whitten, P.L., Brockman, D.K., & Stavisky, R.C.. 1998. Recent advances in noninvasive techniques to monitor hormone-behavior interactions.  Yearbk. Phys. Anthro., 41:1-23.

Knott, C.D. 1997. Field collection and preservation of urine in orangutans and chimpanzees. Trop. Biodiversity, 4:95-102.

Lutz, C.K., Tiefenbacher, S., Jorgensen, M.J., Meyer, J.S., & Novak, M.A.  2000. Techniques for collecting saliva from awake, unrestrained, adult monkeys for cortisol assay.  Am. J. Primatol., 52:93-99.

Lynch, J.W., Khan, M.Z., Altmann, J., Njahira, M.N., & Rubenstein, N. 2003. Concentrations of four fecal steroids in wild baboons: Short-term storage conditions and consequences for data interpretation. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 132:264-271.

Guest Moderator: Marc Shur


Dec. 8

Immobilization (capture, darting, morphological measures)

Non-invasive DNA sampling

Ancrenaz, M., Setchell, J.M., & Curtis, D.  2003.  Handling, anesthesia, health evaluation and biological sampling. (from Setchell & Curtis)

Goossens, B., Anthony, N., Jeffery, K., Johnson-Bawe, M., & Bruford, M.W. 2003.  Collection, storage and analysis of non-invasive genetic material in primate biology.
(from Setchell & Curtis)

Jolly, C.J., Phillips-Conroy, J.E., & Müller, A.E.. 2003.  Trapping primates.
(from Setchell & Curtis)

Sapolsky, R.M. & Share, L.J. 1998. Darting terrestrial primates in the wild: A primer. Am. J. Primatol., 44: 155-167.

Taberlet, P., Waits, L.P., & Luikart, G.  1999.  Noninvasive genetic sampling: Look before you leap. Trends Ecol. Evol., 14:323-327.

Valderrama, X., Karesh, W.B., Wildman, D.E., & Melnick, D.J.  1999.  Noninvasive methods for collecting fresh hair tissue. Molecular Ecol., 8:1749-1750.

Karesh, W.B., Wallace, R.B., Painter, R., Rumiz, D., Braselton, W.E., Dierenfeld, E.S., & Puche, H.  1998.  Immobilization and health assessment of free-ranging black spider monkeys (Ateles paniscus chamek).  Am. J. Primatol., 44:107-123.

Smith, K., Alberts, S.C., & Altmann, J.  2003.  Wild female baboons bias their social behaviour towards paternal half-sisters.  Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B., 270:503-510.

Helen & Lisa

*Note: Additional readings will be announced & a copy made available a week before each meeting. Also note that although the Chapter readings are confirmed, the other paper readings are subject to change within a week of our seminar meeting.

If you haven't yet read this paper, do so: Tinbergen, N.  1963.  On the aims and methods of ethology.  Z. Tierpsychol., 20: 410-433.

Other Graduate Seminars:

Biology of Social Bonds Sex Differences & Sexual Selection in Primates Primate Ecology & Social Behavior

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