Karin E. Jaffe photo montage

Sonoma State University PrimatE Research project

Dr. Karin Enstam Jaffe, Director
Department of Anthropology

Project Description

What is SSUPER?

SSUPER is a research project and database focusing on captive primate demography and behavior. SSUPER has been designed to enable undergraduate and graduate students to obtain experience observing and recording primate behavior while contribuiting data to the SSUPER database.

Affiliated Institutions:
The Oakland Zoo
The San Francisco Zoo

What are current and past SSUPER projects?

Primate Faces

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)



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)




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 project, others help with data collection and entry for master's projects, and others collect demographic (e.g., the number of individuals of different age & sex classes) and behavioral (e.g., grooming, aggression, mother-infant interactions) data to add to the SSUPER database. These data are entered into Excel spreadsheets and archived for future analysis and use. In addition to these data, SSUPER Research Assistants may also be asked to collect data of interest to the affiliated captive facilities.

Please peruse the SSUPER photo gallery to get more information on past and current SSUPER research projects.

How can I get involved with SSUPER?

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.

Please email the project's director, Dr. Karin Enstam Jaffe, if you are interested in finding out more about SSUPER or about being a SSUPER Research Assistant. If you would like to apply to be a SSUPER Research Assistant, please fill out an APPLICATION and submit it to Dr. Enstam Jaffe, Stevenson Hall 2054D, Sonoma State University. Please note that in order to allow adequate processing time, applications must be received at least two weeks before the start of the semester (or summer) in which you wish to participate in the project. Please plan ahead and apply early!

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 496 (Special Studies) units if you are a graduate student. Summer Research Assistants will receive academic credit the following Fall semester.