Netherlands, Utrecht

Observing Primate Behaviour

when 8 August 2016 - 26 August 2016
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 4.5 ECTS
fee EUR 1790

Looking at primates is like looking in a mirror. Similar to humans, primates are highly sociable animals with complex social interactions. Relationships of primates are characterized by agonism, affiliation and sex. Understanding their social behaviour requires objective observational methods and careful data analysis. The summer course Observing Primate Behaviour focuses on getting familiar with primate observational methods by observing primate social behaviour and following the scientific cycle. Through the (statistical) analysis of gathered observational data, students answer and present their own research questions.

As the name suggests, the summer course ?Observing Primate Behaviour? focuses on observing behaviour and therefore includes actual data collection of primate social behaviour by observations. The course employs the scientific cycle by asking and answering research questions through the analysis of the gathered observational data. The student uses statistical methods (using SPSS Statistics and MatMan) to analyse the data and will present their own research both in writing and verbally.

In addition, the course includes lectures on animal behaviour, behavioural research experiences, a social event and visits to two famous Dutch zoos: Burgers? Zoo, Arnhem, with its well-known chimpanzee colony and the primate zoo Apenheul, Apeldoorn. The observations will be conducted on the colony of long-tailed macaques that is used for behavioural biology studies, housed at the Biomedical Primate Research Centre (BPRC), Rijswijk. This expertise centre conducts biomedical research within the strict Dutch laws on animal experimentation. The BPRC provides one day in the program with information and discussions on the ethics of animal husbandry, welfare and experimentation.

Course leader

Prof. Dr. E.H.M. Sterck

Target group

The course is open for advanced bachelor and master students biology that have followed and passed courses in Animal Behaviour at an advanced level and basic statistical course.

Course aim

The course aims to get students acquainted with the full spectrum of studying primate social behaviour. Therefore the course includes experience with actual data collection of primate social behaviour by live observations, employs the scientific cycle by asking and answering research questions through the (statistical) analysis of the gathered observational data and lets students present their own research both in writing and verbally. Furthermore, the additional activities aim to provide the students with more background information on the different topics related to studying primate behaviour, such as welfare, colony management and fieldwork.

Fee info

EUR 1790: Course + course materials + housing
EUR 1290: Course + course materials

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