SSUPER: Sonoma State University Primate Ethology Research Lab

Director: Karin Enstam Jaffe, Department of Anthropology

The Sonoma State University Primate Ethology Research Lab focuses on ethological (i.e., behavioral) research of human and non-human primates and strives to involve Sonoma State graduate and undergraduate 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: Applied Primatology Research Program and independent research projects.

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 (Saimiri sciureus) at the San Francisco Zoo (August 2010-present)
  • Understanding the triggers of hyper-aggressive behavior in female green monkeys (Cercopithecus sabaeus) at the Oakland Zoo (March-October 2007) 

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:

  • Undergraduates conducting independent research:
    • Mating behavior in a captive group of patas monkeys (Erythrocebus patas) at the San Francisco Zoo (May 2009-December 2010)
    • 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)

Do you have questions about The Sonoma State University Primate Ethology Research Lab?
Contact Karin Jaffe at