Sonoma State University Primate Ethology Research (SSUPER) Lab
Dr. Karin Enstam Jaffe, Director
What is the SSUPER Lab?
The SSUPER Lab focuses on ethological (i.e., behavioral) research of human and non-human primates and strives to involve Sonoma State graduate and underdgraduate students in a variety of primate behavior (i.e., ethology) research projects. Currently, research projects being conducted in the SSUPER Lab are divided into two broad categories: the Applied Primatology Research Program and independent research projects.
What are current and past SSUPER Lab projects?
Applied Primatology Research Program
The Applied Primatology Research Program applies behavioral observation methodology to study captive primates in order to help local captive facilities scientifically answer questions and address problems they encounter with the animals they house. Applied Primatology research projects include:
Aggression, affiliation and enclosure use in an all-male group of squirrel monkeys at the San Francisco Zoo (June 2010-Present)
Research conducted by Marcia Brown and Natalie Hambalek
Understanding the triggers of hyper-aggressive behavior in female green monkeys (Cercopithecus sabaeus) at the Oakland Zoo (March-October 2007)
Research conducted by Shannon Hodges & Bonnie Lowery (photo courtesy of Shannon Hodges)
Independent Research Projects
Independent research projects are either conducted by Sonoma State students as the primary investigator, or include students as research assistants on larger projects overseen by Dr. Jaffe. Some examples of independent research are:
The Primate Faces Project is using SSU students to examine the individuality and ease of recognition of non-human primate faces(June 2010-Present)
Primary investigators: Dr. Lynne A. Isbell (UC Davis) & Dr. Karin E. Jaffe (SSU) Research assistants: Marcia Brown & Carena Gilbert
Influence of changes in group dynamics on the mating and social behavior of captive mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) at the San Francisco Zoo (February 2008-May 2010)
Research conducted by Maria Brown (photo courtesy of Marcia Brown)
The Effects of Stimuli on the Behaivor of a Captive Group of Ring-Tailed Lemur (Lemur catta) (January-July 2008)
Research conducted by Brieanna Richards (photo courtesy of Brieanna Richards)
What are the qualifications to be a SSUPER Research Assistant?
You must be a Sonoma State student to participate in SSUPER. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate. Limited research assistant slots are available. Because all research assistants will need to use behavioral data collection techniques, preference will be given to students who have taken and passed Anth 414 (Primate Behavior Laboratory) or been involved in another form of non-invasive animal behavior research at SSU or another academic institution. However, students without previous animal behavior research experience will also be considered. Research Assistantships are available during Fall and Spring semesters, as well as during the summer. SSUPER Research Assistants must commit to a minimum of 1 semester (or 15 weeks in the summer), but are strongly encouraged to consider participating for longer than 1 semester.
What will I do as a SSUPER Research Assistant?
SSUPER Research Assistants engage in a variety of activities. Some Research Assistants collect data as part of their own, independent research or Applied Primatology project, others help with data collection and entry for master's projects, and others collect data for larger projects being conducted by Dr. Jaffe.
Please peruse the SSUPER photo gallery to get more information on past and current SSUPER research projects.
Will I get academic credit for working with SSUPER?
Yes! Depending on the number of hours you want to work, you can get 1-3 units of Anth 495 (Special Studies) units if you are an undergraduate, and 1-3 units of Anth 595 (Special Studies) units if you are a graduate student.