Social dynamics in chimpanzees
LJMU Primatology Research Group (https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/research/centres-and-institutes/primatology-research-group)
Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology & Palaeoecology (https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/research/centres-and-institutes/research-centre-in-evolutionary-anthropology-and-palaeoecology)
This is an ongoing project on the management of social relationships in chimpanzees.
Investigating factors affecting the maintenance of stable social groups is important for understanding the evolutionary basis of sociality. Group living is a delicate balance between competition and cooperation. While there are many benefits to group living, for example, predator defence and/or cooperative defence of food resources, there are also costs related to increased competition for limited resources. Inter-individual conflicts of interest give rise to aggressive interactions with costly consequences such as injury, damaged relationships and destabilised social networks that negatively influence fitness. Thus, evolution should favour mechanisms that minimise disruption and promote group stability.
The candidate will make significant advances in understanding the dynamics of social relationships in chimpanzees. Research questions may include, but are not limited to, conflict and cooperation, the function of social networks, third party relationships. This project presents an exciting opportunity to work on chimpanzees either in captivity and/or the wild, at the established Greater Mahale Ecosystem Research and Conservation (gmerc.org) field site in Tanzania.
Essential characteristics are a relevant MSc degree, experience of animal behaviour data collection, expertise in study design / statistical analysis (ideally proficient use of R) and excellent writing skills evidenced by publication(s) in peer reviewed journal(s). Desirable characteristics include an interest in/knowledge of primate social behaviour, field experience.
If you have any questions please email Dr Nicola Koyama ([Email Address Removed]) and if you would like to apply (as a self- funded student) please email your CV and cover letter to Dr Koyama, along with contact information for two referees.
This project is self-funded. LJMU Postgraduate Fees & Funding: https://www.ljmu.ac.uk/discover/fees-and-funding/postgraduate-finance
Details of university studentships are advertised on the LJMU website - please note to be competitive for these applicants should have at least 2-3 peer reviewed journal publications.