Primate Behavioral Ecology
(Director, Carson Murray). The George Washington Primate Behavioral Ecology lab studies the adaptive value of social behavior in wild primates. We are particularly interested in how social relationships relate to individual variation in female reproductive success. Current projects include: the influence of maternal behavior on offspring outcomes in wild chimpanzees, comparative studies on the role of non-kin relationships on offspring, the transmission of stress reactivity across generations, and the adaptive value of female friendships. Our work relates short-term fitness consequences to long-term outcomes across the lifespan and across generations.
Major equipment: Our Gombe field lab includes equipment for fecal collection and storage, and steroid hormone extraction: solar freezer, centrifuge, and rotator.
Sample publication: Murray CM, Lonsdorf EV, Eberly LE, and AE Pusey. 2009. Rank-dependent reproductive energetics in free-living female chimpanzees. Behavioral Ecology 20: 1211-1216.
Photo credit: Dr. Ian Gilby (Duke University)